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[Greek Fund Book, No. 4.J 



COMMENTARY 



ON THE 



GOSPEL ACCORDING TO MATTHEW 



GIVING 



CRITICAL AND EXEGETICAL NOTES, WITH 
ILLUSTRATIONS FROM ORIENTAL LIFE 



AND THE TEXT OF THE 



COMMON VERSION, 1611, AND THE REVISED VERSION, 1881 
(AMERICAN READINGS AND RENDERINGS) 



BY 

EDWIN W. RICE, D.D. 



SIXTH EDITION, NEWLY REVISED 



ENGRAVINGS AND MAPS 



PHILADELPHIA 

THE AMERICAN SUNDAY-SCHOOL UNION 

1816 Chestnut Street 
1909 



Copyright, 1897, 
by the american sunday-school union. 

Copyright, 1909, 
by the american sunday-school union. 



HAROLD 3. LEE LIBiWU 

BRiGHAW YOUT4G UiflVWHTY 

p-^MO, UTAH 



FOREWORD. 



This interpretation of "The Gospel according to Matthew" was 
first issued early in the new era of scientific Bible study, awakened by 
systematic explorations in Bible lands, by Bible revision, and by the 
uniform Bible lessons which concentrated upon the Christian Scrip- 
tures the learning and best scholarship of the world. 

My purpose was then, and is now, to insist upon the recognition of 
the Oriental character of the Gospels as the guiding principle of inter- 
pretation. What was then rarely deemed of any value even as a side 
light, was made in this work the foremost and main guide to avoid 
misinterpretation. The Bible is an Oriental book, the Gospels are 
Oriental narratives, not only written by Orientals in Oriental lands, 
but rich with Oriental imagery, glowing with Oriental color, thought, 
and expression. Even the great central character, Jesus Christ, was 
himself a man among Orientals. 

Now our English Versions conceal these peculiar Oriental features 
under necessary Occidental idioms, modes of thought, and of expres- 
sion. This not merely mars the beauty of the Gospel, it often causes 
us to misinterpret the message. Thus, my chief aim is to enable the 
student to read the Gospels as if he were by the sea of Galilee, in 
Jerusalem, or on the slopes of Olivet, with the Lord surrounded by 
disciples, thronged with Oriental multitudes seeking to hear and to 
be healed, all of them conspicuous by their Oriental dress, manners, 
customs, and forms of speech. 

The wealth of information accumulated in recent years by critical 
investigation of foremost scholars of all schools, radical, textual, and 
conservative, in Higher Criticism, Lower Criticism, and Biblical The- 
ology, should be carefully sifted and made accessible for the general 
reader. Therefore, a second special feature of this work is to apply 
the accepted results of critical learning, free from technical terms and 
confusing processes of speculation, to the interpretation of difficult 

3 



FOREWORD. 



passages, and so to present them that the reader can form a judgment 
for himself without depending upon the opinion of the author. 

A third special feature of this work is to aid the reader in grasping 
the shades of meaning in the original text, the textus receptus not only, 
but also the Anglo-American Revisers' Greek Text. This is attained 
through a comparison of the Authorized Version with the Revised 
Version, and often through a more literal translation. To further this 
end, the texts of the "Authorized" and of the "Revised Versions" 
are printed in small type, in parallel columns, at the foot of the page, 
for ready reference of the reader. 

So far as known to the author this Commentary was among the 
foremost to combine these three special features, and to recognize the 
thoroughly Oriental character of the Gospels as necessarily a guiding 
principle to their right interpretation. 

In every part of this work the author is largely indebted to Syrian 
and other explorers and scholars for special investigations in Oriental 
lands and life in the East, and to critical scholars and friends in 
America and Europe for much of the new light that has from time to 
time helped to enrich the successive editions. 

This re-revised edition has about thirty pages of new material, the 
Introduction having been entirely rewritten, and changes and recen- 
sions have been carefully made in every part of the book. In this 
newly revised form, the volume is sent forth in the hope that it may 
have the same generous reception that has been accorded to its pred- 
ecessors. 

EDWIN W. RICE. 
Philadelphia, November, 1909. 



INTRODUCTION. 



I. THE CHRISTIAN SCRIPTURES. 

The Christian Scriptures, named " The New Testament," comprises 
twenty-seven treatises or books. Joined to the Jewish Scriptures, 
named " The Old Testament," of thirty-nine books, the two divisions 
make the one volume called " The Bible." 

Title. — " The New Testament " is a comparatively modern and inac- 
curate title of the Christian Scriptures. The Jewish Scriptures were 
early named not the "Old Testament," but "The Covenant," or 
" Book of the Covenant." x The Gospels and apostolic writings were 
at the first alluded to and conceived and spoken of as a " New Cov- 
enant." J The same Greek term for " covenant," 6ta6?jK?j, sometimes sig- 
nified also " testament," but far more commonly in Scriptures it means 
" covenant." The Latin term " testamentum " was sometimes applied 
to the Christian Scriptures from a misinterpretation of 2 Cor. 3 : 14, in 
the post-apostolic era. Tertullian (200-240 A. D.) called them instru- 
mentum, " covenant," and sometimes testamentum, " will " or " testa- 
ment." Eusebius (260-340 A. D.) used the same term, and Jerome 
(331-420 A. D.) used it in his Latin version of the Scriptures, called 
the Vulgate. 

But the early Christians used the Greek term, commonly meaning 
" covenant." The first portion of the Christian Scriptures was called 
" The Gospel," or " The Gospel Instrument," and the latter portion 
" The Apostle," or M The Apostolic Instrument." It is clear that 
" covenant " is the proper and better word ; for the Jewish Scriptures 
are not the " Will " nor " Testament " of a dead Being, but contain the 
" covenant " of Jehovah, the living God ; and the Christian Scriptures 
contain the "New Covenant" through Jesus Christ, who was dead, but 
is risen and " is alive forevermore." 

The word " Bible " comes from the Greek piploc, "book," and ftipMov, 
" little book." 3 By the early Christians the sacred writings were called 
simply " The Scriptures." * The Latin Christians used Biblia, " books " ; 
Jerome, however, used the term Bibliotheca Sancta, "holy books." 
Chrysostom (341-407 A. D.) called them piftMa, "books," and also ra 
6ela piftTiia, " divine books." Chaucer speaks of them as " The Bible," 
and Wyckliffe used the same term in the Preface to his translation. 
The plural meaning, " the books," has disappeared ; the sacred Scrip- 
tures are now called " The Bible." 

1 Ex. 24 : 7 ; 2 Kings 23 : 2, 3. 

1 Compare Matt. 26 : 28 ; Mark 14 : 24 ; Gal. 4 : 24, with Heb. 8 : 9 ; 9 : 15, 18 ; 7 : 22 ; 13 : 
20. See also Ex. 24 : 8 ; Heb. 9 : 20 ; Rom. 9 : 4, and Eph. 2 : 12. 

* 2 Tim. 4 : 13; Rev. 22 : 19. * 2 Pet. 1 : 20; 3 : 16. 

5 



INTRODUCTION. 



How Written. — In seeking to know how the Christian Scriptures 
came to be written in an age and in a state of society such as ex- 
isted in the apostolic era in Oriental lands, we must remember that 
there was no printing press, no public school system, that education 
was limited, that many could not read, that little was written, and that 
literature was very scanty. News spread by word of mouth; great 
events and great truths were alike proclaimed orally. 

The earliest gospel was an oral gospel. Probably the first written 
Christian Scriptures were letters by apostles, apostolic men, and 
evangelists. Paul wrote two letters to the Thessalonians, but does 
not refer to any written gospel. James in his letter, written perhaps 
earliest of the Christian Scriptures, refers to the Scriptures of the Old 
Testament, 1 but makes no clear allusion to any written gospel. If 
there had been one then current, it is likely that he would have quoted 
or referred to it. The writer of 2 Pet. 3 : 16 places Paul's letters in a 
class with the Jewish Scriptures, for he says that in Paul's Epistles 
" are some things hard to be understood, which the ignorant and un- 
steadfast wrest, as they do also the other Scriptures, unto their own 
destruction." 

Therefore, from the facts and conditions as they existed in Palestine, 
it is obvious that for a time the apostles and their colaborers were too 
busy proclaiming the gospel to think of writing it. Nor did their Chris- 
tian followers feel the need of a written gospel so long as they could fre- 
quently hear an apostle or an evangelist proclaim it. 

Jewish Christians in Palestine would expect the gospel, if written, to 
be in Aramaic, Hebrew, or Syriac. Gentile Christians outside of Pal- 
estine would look for it in Greek. Paul spoke Aramaic or Hebrew to 
the mob in Jerusalem, but he also spoke Greek to the captain, and to 
that officer's amazement, who took him to be an Egyptian brigand. 
Paul's letters to Christians in Asia, Macedonia, and Corinth would nat- 
urally be written in Greek, so probably would the general letter of 
James. 

Some scholars suppose there was no written gospel before 53 A. D. 
Perhaps the earliest portions written were "discourses" and "para- 
bles" of Jesus loosely connected by some account of his miracles. If 
these were written in Palestine, they would naturally be in the Aramaic 
language. This may well have been done by Matthew, followed by 
Mark, as tradition says, or perhaps the two wrote at about the same 
time. 2 Mark would report the gospel as proclaimed by Peter and Bar- 
nabas. After several such " Logia" discourses, and " stories " or 
" memoirs " were put forth, Luke thought it good " to write ... in 

» Compare James 2 : 8, 11, 23 ; 4 : 5, with 5 : 11, 13. 

1 See Gregory, Canon and Text of the New Testament, p. 49. 



INTRODUCTION. 



order of all things accurately from the first " (Luke 1 : 3) ; and then 
he composed the third Gospel and the Acts. 

How They Became One Book. — The several treatises of the Chris- 
tian Scriptures, now named the " New Testament," have a clear unity 
of purpose, of subject, and a oneness of spiritual teaching, causing them 
to be brought together into one book for Christian use. 1 Precisely 
when this was done we are not definitely informed. 

It is the prevailing view of scholars that the letters of James and 
of Paul to the Thessalonians were the earliest written of the books 
in our Christian Scriptures. Meager allusions to early collections of 
Christian writings show that they came to be one book by a compar- 
atively slow process. Apparently certain " apostolic letters " were early 
grouped together and designated " Apostolicon" or " The Apostle." The 
latter sometimes appear to have included the general Epistles, and pos- 
sibly the Apocalypse or Revelation. The Gospels formed another group 
and the Acts a third. Before the close of the third century all the books 
of our Christian Scriptures were grouped together and universally ac- 
cepted. This was not an act of a general council of churches. The 
Council of Nicsea (325 A. D. ) and the Council of Laodicaea (about 360 
A. d.) declared what books were already included among accepted Chris- 
tian Scriptures. They did not select the books; they only declared what 
books were universally accepted by Christians as of divine authority. 

Order of the Books. — The exact order in which the books com- 
posing the Christian Scriptures were written is not certainly known, 
but they were all written within a period of about half a century. The 
early Fathers do not agree upon the dates of the compositions of the 
Gospels even. Theophylact places the writing of Matthew at 41 A. D., 
Eusebius at 44 A. d., Nicephorus at 48 A. D., and Irenseus after 60 A. d. 
A similar diversity prevailed in respect to the arrangement of the order 
of the books in the Christian Scriptures. A prominent arrangement 
which differs from that in our English Bibles is: the four Gospels 
and the Acts, followed by the General Epistles (James, 1 and 2 Peter, 
1, 2, 3 John, and Jude) ; then the Epistles of Paul (Romans, 1 and 2 
Corinthians, Galatians, Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians, 1 and 2 
Thessalonians), followed by Hebrews, and then 1 and 2 Timothy, Titus, 
Philemon, and lastly the Book of Revelation. Substantially this order 
prevails in the Greek Church. The order given in our English Bibles 
is not chronological, but is supposed to be logical. Some scholars sup- 
pose the logical was allowed to displace the chronological order by 
Providence, and hence, in their view, that the arrangement of the books 
in our English version has a certain divine sanction. 2 Nor has the 

1 Pee MacPhail's Magnetism of the Bible, pp. 6.8-70, and Prof. Huntington's Charms of 
the Old Book, chap. xvii. 

8 See A. T. Pieraon, Bible and Spiritual Life, p. 15. 



8 



INTRODUCTION. 



order of the four Gospels in our English versions always been followed. 
The Latins sometimes placed Matthew and John before Luke and Mark. 
Sometimes, though more rarely, after the Latin tradition, the order is 
John, Matthew, Luke, Mark, and in Greek copies. 1 

When the Books Were Written. — Only approximate dates can 
be given. On some of these dates scholars are still widely at variance, 
therefore many of the dates are conjectural. 





WHERE 






WHERE 




BOOK. 


WRITTEN. 


DATE. 


BOOK. 


WRITTEN. 


DATE. 


James, 


Jerusalem (?) 


44-50 A. D. 


Mark, 


(?) circa 55 a. d 


1 Thessalonians, 


Corinth, 


49-53 " 


Matthew, 


Judsea, 


" 55 " 


2 


i< 


52-53 " 


Luke, 


Rome (?), 


59-61 " 


Galatians, 


Ephesus, 


53-56 " 


Acts, 


ii 


63-65 " 


1 Corinthians, 


<< 


56 " 


1 Timothy, 


Macedonia, 


63(?) " 


2 


Macedonia, 


56-57 " 


2 


Rome, 


63-67 " 


Romans, 


Corinth, 


56-57 " 


Titus, 


<< 


63-65 '• 


Philippians, 


Rome, 


59-63 " 


Jude, 


Jerusalem (?), 


68-70 " 


Ephesians, 


«< 


59-63 " 


John, 


Ephesus, 


80-95 (?) 


Colossians, 


it 


59-63 " 


I, 2, and 3 John 


" (?) 


(?) 


Philemon, 


ii 


59-63 " 


Revelation, 


Patmos, 


95(?) 


Hebrews, 


(?) 


48-65 " 









How Preserved. — The Christian Scriptures were preserved in writ- 
ten copies from apostolic times. Internal testimony is not wanting to 
show that some of the apostolic letters were copied and circulated for 
the instruction of Christians, and were called " Apostolicon" as stated 
above. The " discourses," " Logia," and " Gospels " were copied in 
portions, and later entire, to be read in Christian assemblies. 2 These 
were preserved in three ways: 

1. By scribes and copyists who multiplied written copies. Book- 
scribes and book-vendors were comparatively numerous, and so were 
trained copyists, who were employed to make copies of books that were 
in demand. Any work could be readily obtained by one willing and 
able to pay the cost of copying. 

2. By translations into other languages from the Greek. Some cop- 
ies of these have been preserved to our time. 

3. By quotations in Christian writings of the first three or four centu- 
ries. So numerous and full are these Scripture citations that an English 
scholar declared he could reproduce the whole of the New Testament, 
were it destroyed, from the writings of the early Christian Fathers. He 
did actually gather the greatest portion of it in this way, and was sure 
that further research would discover the rest. 

The Originals. — What has become of the original copies of the 
books of the Christian Scriptures written by the apostles, and evangel- 
ists, and apostolic men? They have been worn out or lost, as have the 



1 See Gregory, Canon and Text of the New Testament, p. 468. 
1 See Rice, Our Sixty-six Sacred Books, chap. vi. 



INTRODUCTION. 



original copies of the ancient classics. The autograph copies might 
have been lost in a number of ways : 

1. By Use. — If written on x^P r VQ, paper made from papyrus, as most 
of them doubtless w T ere, they would soon wear out by handling and use. 

2. Destroyed by Enemies. — In the many persecutions of the early Chris- 
tians great efforts were made to destroy the Christians and their books. 
Any original copy of the Christian Scriptures would be hunted out by 
persecutors and burned or otherwise destroyed. 

3. They May Have Been Lost. — The original copies would be exposed 
to the ravages of war, fire, moths, and mice. The large libraries of Alex- 
andria, which doubtless contained Greek copies of the Hebrew Scriptures 
and of other books, were burned. The early Christian Fathers who had 
an original copy of any New Testament book would hide it from ene- 
mies, and the place where it was hidden would be perhaps forgotten 
and lost by the sudden martyrdom of its possessor. 

Scripture Writings Better Preserved Than Classics. — All 
the famous Greek and Latin classic books, excepting possibly those of 
Pliny the Younger, Juvenal, Suetonius, Quintilian, Plutarch, and 
Tacitus, were written, read, and admired before the Christian writings 
appeared. The great classic writers had won the admiration of the 
world by their wisdom when the Christian Scriptures were sent forth. 
Classic and sacred writings were alike preserved, before the invention 
of printing, by hand-written copies. The paper chiefly in use in the 
Christian era was made from papyrus. Parchment, made from the 
skins of animals, more endurable, was rare and valuable. 1 So Paul 
admonished Timothy to bring the parchments because they were 
costly. Among the Greeks and Romans the labor of transcribing their 
books was done by slaves, but sometimes by virgins, skilled in the art 
of writing. Yet we have no complete copy of Homer himself prior to 
the thirteenth century. There are fragments of it belonging to the 
fourth and sixth century, and a few fragments ascribed to the first and 
second century B. c. The noted copy of Virgil in Florence is not 
complete, but there are two copies in the Vatican of perhaps the fourth 
century of our era. There is a fragment of Euripides perhaps as old 
as the first century B. c, but no complete copy. An old parchment 
copy of De Republica by Cicero of the second or third century has 
Augustine's comments on the Psalms. A partial copy of Virgil at 
Verona has a comment on the book of Job written over it. In an old 
volume of manuscripts in the British Museum is a palimpsest of four 
thousand lines of Homer's Iliad, and in the same, written by a different 
hand, yet quite as old as the portion of Homer, is a large portion of the 
Gospel of Luke. Parchments were costly and reused. 

Christian Scriptures were, in like manner, multiplied by written 

1 See 2 Tim. 4 : 13. 



10 INTRODUCTION. 



copies. Norton computed that not less than sixty thousand copies of 
the Gospels were circulated among Christians by the end of the second 
century. Origen was aided in multiplying copies of Christian books 
by virgins skilled in caligraphy. Eusebius was ordered to make fifty 
copies of the Scriptures by Constantine. 

Besides the Sinaitic copy of the complete New Testament, there is 
the Vatican copy, nearly complete, of about the same age, and more 
than a score of copies of great portions of the New Testament made 
in the fifth and sixth centuries. " Manuscripts of the most illustrious 
classic poets and philosophers," says Scrivener, " are far rarer and 
comparatively modern. . . . More than one work [classic] of high and 
deserved repute has been preserved to our times only in a single copy." 

The early Christians made copies of their sacred books with pains- 
taking care, and yet little errors might creep into them. Where two 
sentences close together ended in the same words, the copyist's eye 
might fall on the words at the end of the second sentence and lead him 
to suppose he had already copied it, and pass on to the next, when he 
had copied the first sentence only. Thus the second sentence might be 
omitted altogether. But in comparing several early copies such errors 
would be detected. This work of comparing or collating ancient manu- 
script copies of valuable works has become a special study in recent 
years, and as a result of it, more accurately printed copies of the Greek 
text of the New Testament books have been issued. 

The Text. — The three sources of the text of the New Testament, 
as already intimated, are — I. The written copies in Greek, or the manu- 
scripts. II. The early translations. III. Quotations from the text in 
the Fathers and early Christian writers. 

I. The Greek Manuscripts. — The most important Greek manuscripts 
of the New Testament now known are those written in large letters, 
and called uncials. Tischendorf asserts, " In all classical literature 
there is nothing which may be compared, even distantly, in riches with 
the textual sources of the New Testament." Westcott and Hort de- 
clare, " In the variety and fullness of the evidence on which it rests, 
the text of the New Testament stands absolutely and unapproachably 
alone among ancient prose writings." 

The number of Greek manuscripts of the New Testament is variously 
computed by scholars, owing to the different methods of computation. 
Some reckon each manuscript, though only a fragment, as one ; others 
count all fragments now separated, but which they suppose to have 
been originally together, as only one. The total number is usually 
reckoned to be between 3000 and 4000 ; and new copies or fragments 
have been discovered in greater numbers in recent years than for a 
century following the Reformation. Westcott and Hort 1 state that the 

1 New 'Testament, vol. ii., p. 75 ff. 



INTRODUCTION. 11 



Gospels are contained in fair completeness in 19 uncials; the Acts in 9; 
Catholic Epistles in 7 ; Pauline in 9, and 2 transcripts ; the Apocalypse 
in 5. But these figures do not include a number of manuscripts con- 
taining more or less considerable fragments of books. " If each manu- 
script is counted as one, irrespectively of the books contained, the 
total number is between 900 and 1000." Other trustworthy computa- 
tions of the known manuscripts of the New Testament place the whole 
number of uncials at 110, and of cursives at over 3500. 

These cursive manuscripts, or minuscules ("small letters "), are writ- 
ten in a small running hand, richly illuminated. About 30 are known 
to contain the New Testament entire, 600 the Gospels, 300 the Pauline 
Epistles, 200 the Catholic Epistles, 100 the book of Revelation, and 
350 lessons from the Gospels. The value of these cursive manuscripts 
in giving information on the history of the text has only recently been 
recognized. They are not only numerous, but of wide range and im- 
portant in testimony. 

Ancient Greek manuscripts have been arranged in groups based on 
their supposed texts, as : Pre-Syrian, Western, Alexandrian, and Neu- 
tral. The texts are also classed as original, rewrought, and polished 
texts. When these groups agree in their readings there is strong pre- 
sumption that it is the true text. 

The chief or large letter Greek manuscripts are : 

J$. The Sinaitic, found by Tischendorf in 1859 in the Convent of St. 
Catharine, Mount Sinai. It is now in St. Petersburg, Russia. It con- 
sists of 346£ leaves of thin vellum, 13^ inches long by 14£ inches wide. 
On 199 leaves are portions of the Greek version of the Old Testament. 
The 43 leaves found in 1844, and published under the title Codex Frid- 
erico-Augustanus, are also a part of the Sinaitic manuscript, and con- 
tain parts of the Old Testament. The remaining 147£ leaves have 
the whole of the New Testament, the so-called Epistle of Barnabas, 
and a part of the Shepherd of Hermas. Words are not always 
written out in full, but are often abbreviated by a line over the letters, 
though the abbreviations are less frequent than in some other old manu- 
scripts. The words are written without spaces between them, making 

Toth ceyceBe^c 
M ycth fio Koce 

to ttjc evoefieiac \ fivarijpLov \6e late corr.] og e. 1 Tim. 3 : 16. 
SPKCIMKN OF THK SINAITIC MANUSCRIPT. 

a line look like one continuous word, and the line sometimes ends with 
the next to the last letter of a word, the last letter beginning the next 
line; this makes it more difficult to read. Since the copy was first 
made, probably in the fourth century, other copyists have inserted cor- 
rections, which can be distinguished from the first writer's copy by the 



12 INTRODUCTION. 



different handwriting and the different inks. The text of this manu- 
script has been published in four volumes, in imitation type, and the 
New Testament portion in an octavo edition in ordinary Greek type. 

A. The Alexandrian Manuscript, in the British Museum, is now bound 
in four volumes. It consists of 773 leaves, 12f inches high by IO4- 
inches broad, each page having two columns of fifty lines each. The 




A N^^NApX^hiHNOAqrOCKAlOXorecH 
y T1pOCTONeN'HA(eCHNO\OroC« 

Ev apxv V v ° hoyog nai o Tioyoc n \y\ \ irpoc tov 6[eo]v nai 6[eo] c tjv "koyoq 

John 1 : 1. 

SPECIMEN OF THE ALEXANDRIAN MANUSCRIPT. 

Old Testament is on 629 leaves. Matthew 1 to 25 : 26 is wanting ; two 
leaves are lost from John's Gospel, and three from 2 Corinthians. 
Following the New Testament books are a copy of the First Epistle of 
Clement of Rome (of which another copy was discovered by Bryennios 
at Constantinople, in 1875), and part of a second epistle of his of 
doubtful authenticity. This manuscript has initial letters and the first 
four lines of each column on the first page of Genesis in vermilion ink. 
It was originally written about the middle of the fifth century. 

B. The Vatican Manuscript, No. 1209, in the Vatican Library at Rome 
is probably older than the Sinaitic, and was written in the fourth 



s CTJM^cKr£[ovA€Nf}oy 




% 



*nr8* 



■r, S 



*JULAf kON ** 



craaig mi ovdevt ov [ 6ev emov eQoflovv \ to yap : Mark 16 : 8. 
SPECIMEN OF THE VATICAN MANUSCRIPT, 1209. 

century. It is a quarto vellum volume of 759 leaves (142 containing 
the New Testament), 10 by 10h inches, and having three columns of 
forty-two lines each to a page. The first part of Genesis to chapter 
46 : 28 is wanting, and also the last part of the New Testament, after 
Heb. 9 : 14, that is, 1 and 2 Timothy, Titus, Philemon and Revelation 



INTRODUCTION. 13 



are missing in the original, and have been added in a comparatively 
recent handwriting. It has been issued in six volumes by Vercellone, 
Cozza and Sergio (vol. vi. to contain the notes, etc.). 

There are other Vatican manuscripts : No. 2066 of Revelation, and No. 
354 of the Gospels ; the latter a folio of 234 leaves in oblong uncials or 
capitals; also containing an Epistle of Carpianus and the Eusebian 
Canons. 

C. The Ephraem Manuscript, in the National Library of Paris. This is a 
palimpsest, that is, the original writing was partially erased and some 
Greek works of Ephraem, the Syrian father (299-378 A.D.), were written 
over it. This has portions of the Greek version of the Old Testament 
on 64 leaves, and of the New Testament on 145 leaves. It has all of the 
Gospels except about 37 chapters. About 15 chapters of Acts, 45 of the 
Epistles and 11 of the Apocalypse are also missing. It has been worked 
over by three correctors between the sixth and tenth centuries. 

D. The Greco-Latin Manuscript of Beza, in the Cambridge Library, Eng- 
land, is a quarto volume 10 by 8 inches, one column on a page, the Greek 
text on the left hand page and the Latin version on the right hand, being 
parallel. It contains the Gospels and Acts, but is marred by eight or 
nine correctors, and is not regarded of great value in textual study. 

There is~ a large number of uncial manuscripts of less importance 
than these just described ; one of the latest discovered is 

2. Codex Rossanensis, a purple vellum, containing Matthew and Mark, 
beautifully written in silver letters, the first three lines at the beginning 
of each Gospel being in gold. It is also illustrated with eighteen 
water-color pictures representing scenes in the gospel history. It is 

TTO M H P O yOT l 

coyecTiNHBx 
3AeicToycxi~ 

NACXMKKJ 

(3 am nvpA^Hnre 

Doxology to the Lord's Prayer. Matt. 6 : 13. 
irovqpov ort | aov early 7} (3a \ oikua nai rj 6v \ vafiig nai ij do \ %a eic rove atu | 

vac afirjv. \ Eav yap a^r/re 
SPECIMEN OF THE CODEX ROSSANENSIS. 

supposed to belong to the sixth century, and contains the doxology to 
the Lord's Prayer, Matt. 6 : 13, which is not found in the Sinaitic, 
the Vatican or the Beza manuscript. 



14 INTRODUCTION. 



Manuscripts Unknown* — Other valuable ancient manuscripts, con- 
taining portions of the text of the Christian Scriptures, are being 
brought to light by the diligent research of explorers and skilled pa- 
laeographers. These were hidden or lost during periods of persecutions 
in the early church. They are found in caves, tombs, crypts under 
churches, and in old convents in the East. It is not improbable that 
some portions of Scriptures, written by the apostles or their immediate 
disciples, may yet be found. 

Printed Copies. — Different printed editions of the Greek New Testa- 
ment have been made. Upwards of nine hundred and twenty, more 
or less critical, have been noted ; of which it is estimated that a mil- 
lion of copies have been issued. The careful collating of the best 
manuscripts of early translations and of quotations of the Christian 
Fathers will gradually put us in possession of a purer text. 

II. Early Translations. — Early translations from the Greek of 
the Christian Scriptures are a second source of fixing the original text. 
Some of these translations are from a text older than any Greek text 
now extant. The chief of these translations are : 

1. Syriac Versions. — The chief of these are: (a) The Old Syriac or 
Peshitta, represented in the Curetorian MS. of 82£ leaves, and in the 
Lewis-Gibson MS., found at Mt. Sinai in 1892. (b) The Jerusalem, or 
Palestinian form of the Syrian text. This is counted " rougher, and 
less scientific than the Peshitta." (c) A twin Syrian text, called the 
Philoxenian, and its twin, called the " Nine Mile," or Heraclean text. 
These are named after Philoxenus, a bishop (488-518 A. D.), and 
Thomas of Heraclea, a Syrian bishop (616 A. d.). 

2. Latin Versions. — Of these we have : (a) The Old Latin, formerly 
called Itala. Several manuscripts of this Old Latin Version have 
been found. They are designated (a), (e), (&), (m), (g), (c). This Old 
Latin was the basis of Jerome's Version, called, (b) The Latin Vul- 
gate, or common Latin, which version he made by revising the Old 
Latin with the aid of Greek manuscript texts. Jerome's translation 
was, at first, violently opposed, but finally was accepted ; and was the 
first book printed after the invention of movable type about 1455, and 
called the "Mazarin Bible." 

3. Coptic (or Old Egyptian) Version. — This version exists in three 
dialects: (a) the Thebaic or Saidic, of upper Egypt; (b) the Memphitic 
or Boheiric, of lower Egypt; (c) the Fayyumic, which is also called by 
different names — as, Bashmuric, Elearchic, and Middle Egyptian. 

4. Ethiopic Version. — This represents an early Greek text of an un- 
certain period, and exists in manuscripts brought from Mt. Lebanon to 
Rome about three and a half centuries ago. 

5. Armenian Version. — This belongs to the fifth century, and has the 
entire Bible. Before that the Armenians used the Syriac Version. 



INTRODUCTION. 15 



6. Gothic Version was made by Wulfila or Ulphilas, bishop of the 
Goths (311-380 A. D.). His version arranges the Gospels thus: Mat- 
thew, John, Luke, Mark. 

Slavonic, Saxon, Persian, and Arabic versions exist, but based on 
Greek manuscripts apparently of later dates than the versions which 
have been named. 

III. Citations in the Early Fathers. — A third source of the 
text of the Christian Scriptures is the numerous passages quoted by 
the early Fathers. The Greek fathers quoted directly from the Greek 
text ; the Latin fathers usually cited the Old Latin Version. Among 
those who thus wrote and cited Scripture were: Clement of Rome 
(d. 100 A. D.), Ignatius (d. 104 A. D.), Papias (d. 130 A. d.), Polycarp 
(b. 69 A. D.), the author of Shepherd of Hermas (100), who were asso- 
ciates or pupils of the Apostles. They were followed by Justin Martyr 
(d. 163), Teaching of the twelve (cir. 120), Tatian (d. 150), Hegesippus 
(d. 180), Irenseus (d. 202), Clement of Alexandria (d. 220), Tertullian 
(150-230), Hippolytus (202-235), Origen (185-253), Cyprian (d. 258), 
Lactantius flourished (313). Shortly after these flourished Eusebius 
(260-340), Athanasius (296-373), Arius (256-336), Gregory (257-332), 
Ephrsem of Syria (about 368-373), Cyril of Jerusalem (315-386), Am- 
brose (340-397), Basil the Great (329-379), Chrysostom (d. 407), Jerome 
(d. 419), and the distinguished Augustine (d. 430). The writings of 
these fathers are of great importance in attempting to settle the ques- 
tion of authorship of the books, and of a disputed reading in the 
Scripture text. 

Recovering the True Original Text. — The originals of the 
New Testament have been lost. How may we be assured that the 
present text is correct ? Partly from the numbers of copies and the 
care with which they were made, and partly from the great number of 
translations and citations made in the Apostolic and Sub- Apostolic Era. 

Efforts to recover the original Greek text by scholarly and scientific 
methods are of comparatively recent date. The Greek text used by 
the translators of our authorized version (1611) was founded on a few 
late and imperfect manuscripts and on the Latin Vulgate. 

Nearly all the more ancient and best authorities for the Greek text 
have been discovered in the past century or two. The science of Text- 
ual Criticism is even yet in its infancy. The Anglo-American revisers 
were at great pains to get a correct or original text by comparing ancient 
authorities, Greek MSS., old translations, and quotations, adopting that 
text only, for which there was decidedly preponderating evidence. 
Their text was issued in a separate volume as the Revisers' Greek Text 
of the New Testament. This revised Greek text mainly underlies the 
critical explanations given in this Commentary. 



16 



INTRODUCTION. 



II. MATTHEW'S GOSPEL. 

The " Gospel according to Matthew " has generally been placed at 
the beginning of the Christian Scriptures because it was believed that 
the author was the apostle bearing that name ; and his Gospel was 
among the first to be written. The " Gospel according to John " has 
been sometimes put first because the writer of it was also believed to 
be the apostle. Early Christians held that Matthew's Gospel was writ- 
ten before the Gospel of John. The arrangement or order of the four 
Gospels was probably determined by these two facts— the priority of 
writing and the position or rank of the writer. 

Title.— The writer of the first Gospel did not prefix a title to it, 
unless the first line is to be so taken : " The book of the generation of 
Jesus Christ." The earliest known heading or title ran Kara MarflaZov 
= " according to Matthew." This short title appears in the Sinaitic 
and Vatican manuscripts, the oldest Greek copies extant. The gen- 
eral title, Evayyeluov = " Gospel," some suppose was understood by early 
Christians, though omitted. In Homeric Greek the term signified 
"good news" or "a present given for good news." — Ody. 14: 152. In 
later Greek it meant the good news itself, and is so used now in the 
Greek Scriptures. The English term "gospel" is from "god" or 
" good," and " spel " from the old English spellian, " to tell " ; hence 
" good spell," meant " good tidings " or " good news." Our modern 
title is "The Gospel According to Saint Matthew " ; the old title was 
not " Saint Matthew," but simply " According to Matthew." At the 
end of Matthew in the Alexandrian manuscript the unusual subscrip- 
tion reads ~Evayy£X?iiov Kara Mardalov. 

The early Greek fathers, as in the age of Justin Martyr, spoke of 
these writings as simply " Gospels," and sometimes as " sayings " or 
" memoirs" of our Lord. Whether they referred to either of the Gos- 
pels in their present form is still an open question. Justin speaks of 
the Gospels, in writing to Antoninus Pius, as "those Memoirs written 
by the apostles which are called Gospels," and which were read in the 
assemblies of Christians " on the day called Sunday." In a discussion 
with Trypho, a Jew, he speaks of memoirs or sayings which were writ- 
ten by our Lord's apostles and their companions. This cannot refer to 
the " logia " or earlier record of Matthew alone, for he uses the plural 
" apostles " and " their companions " in designating the authors of 
these memoirs. The present title then describes what was believed to 
be the fact, that the first Gospel was " The Gospel According to Mat- 
thew." 

The Authorship. — Who wrote our Gospel according to Matthew ? 
On this question scholars now hold different opinions. Some facts are 



INTRODUCTION. 17 



generally conceded : (1) Matthew, the apostle, wrote certain "logia" 
or " sayings of our Lord " in Aramaic or Hebrew, as the early Chris- 
tians and the fathers abundantly testify, even if he did not write the 
Gospel in Greek ; (2) the present Gospel has been uniformly ascribed 
to him until comparatively recent times; (3) the first Gospel in its 
present form has very many similarities to an early gospel or " logia," 
and to the Gospels ascribed to Mark and Luke. 

These main facts should be kept distinctly in mind. They will aid 
in removing difficulties respecting the authorship of our Gospel in its 
present form. Certainly any tenable view of its authorship must satis- 
factorily account for all the important facts. 

Among the various opinions now prevailing are : (1) That this Gos- 
pel in its present form is the work of some unknown compiler; (2) 
that our Gospel was written by some disciple or pupil of Matthew by 
his sanction, using the apostle's " logia " and a Gospel of Mark ; (3) 
that our Gospel was written by an evangelist who used some common 
oral traditions as the basis or source, such as it is supposed the authors 
of the earliest written Gospels did. These traditions were similar in 
substance, but varied in details, in different localities and among dif- 
ferent bodies of Christians. The older view that the first Gospel was 
written by the apostle Matthew in person, is not now a widely accepted 
view among critical scholars. 

The first view would account for the similarities in our present Gos- 
pel with Mark and Luke, but has serious difficulties respecting the dis- 
similarities in the Gospels. These dissimilarities are quite as remark- 
able as the resemblances, and must be accounted for on any tenable 
theory of authorship. The second view seems to be partly the result 
of an effort to explain how our Gospel was so early and so persistently 
associated with the apostle Matthew as the author. But it does not 
account for the Gospel of Mark, which the theory supposes to have 
already been in existence. The third view claims to avoid or remove 
the difficulties of the first and second views, since it holds that the 
authors of the first two Gospels used common sources — " sayings " or 
" traditions " ; and that these sources and the early written gospels 
were also employed by Luke, who wrote later than Matthew or Mark. 
It will thus be seen that the problem of the origin of the Gospels is 
still unsolved and far from a satisfactory solution. 

Gospel in Hebrew. — Leaving these opinions and theories, let us 
notice some of the historic testimony. The Christian Fathers are 
practically unanimous in their testimony regarding the existence of 
some Gospel written by Matthew. Papias says : " If some one came 
who had followed with the elders, I sought after the words of the 
elders; what Andrew or what Peter said, or what Philip, or what 
Thomas, or James, or John, or Matthew, or what any other of the dis- 
2 



18 INTRODUCTION. 



ciples of the Lord, and what both Aristion and the elder John, the dis- 
ciples of the Lord, say." He adds : " Matthew wrote the sayings of 
our Lord in the Hebrew dialect, and each one interpreted them as he 
was able." Iremeus declares, " Matthew published his Gospel among 
the Hebrews in their own dialect." Eusebius reports that Pantaenus 
found the Gospel of Matthew in Hebrew, which Bartholomew, the 
apostle, was said to have carried to East India. Origen declares the 
belief of his time, " Matthew, an apostle, wrote the first Gospel for 
Jewish believers in the Hebrew language." Cyril, of Jerusalem, speaks 
of Matthew, " the author of the Gospel which he wrote in the Hebrew 
language." Jerome affirms that he had a copy of Matthew's Gospel in 
Hebrew, which was translated into the Greek. 

Many modern scholars are of opinion that much of this testimony 
applies to a Gospel in Hebrew, but not to the Gospel that we have. 
Some go so far as to suggest that these witnesses mistook some other 
writing for Matthew's, but they offer no satisfactory evidence in sup- 
port of this view. Admitting, now, that the testimony of some of these 
Fathers may refer to Mattew's Gospel in Hebrew, and not to our Gos- 
pel, then the correspondences of their citations to our Gospel remains 
to be accounted for. There is further historic testimony showing that 
the early Fathers cited from a Gospel which they believed to be by Mat- 
thew, and these citations conform verbally very closely to our Gospel. 
If in some cases they are not quite identical with our Greek Gospel of 
Matthew, neither are they with the " Logia " or " Sayings." Thus, Jus- 
tin, the Martyr, writing to Trypho, the Jew, makes abundant quotations 
from the Gospels. He cites the words addressed to Jesus at the baptism 
in exactly the form given in our Matthew. He cites a large number of 
passages in a similar way ; in fact, Justin's books are accounted " full 
of Scripture, full of gospel matter," and the gospel matter is chiefly 
from our four Gospels. He quotes from memory, as early writers and 
evangelists usually did. Hippolytus quotes the words " the axe at the 
root of the tree," " every tree not bearing good fruit is cut down and 
cast into the fire." Cerinthus, and Epiphanius, and Carpocrates make 
direct citations from the same Gospel, and in substantially the form in 
which we have it ; for they refer to the birth-list of Christ according to 
Matthew, which was not in his " Logia." A heretical sect known as 
the Ophites also used Matthew's Gospel, for they make several quota- 
tions in the same words as in our Gospel. Several citations are made 
from the Sermon on the Mount as reported by Matthew. Clement, of 
Alexandria, gives us a beautiful passage, as he calls it, in the words of 
Matthew. Origen quotes a pair of sentences from Heracleon's writings, 
citing the words of Jesus, which indicate that our present Gospel was 
in the hands of that early disciple. Theophilus says Matthew's Gospel 
has this passage, " Love ye your enemies, and pray for those who revile 



INTRODUCTION. 19 



you. For, if you love those who love you, what reward have ye? This 
also do the robbers and the publicans." Tatian, who composed the ear- 
liest known harmony of the four Gospels, used our Gospel, and believed 
it to be by Matthew the apostle. Eusebius records, " Matthew also, hav- 
ing first proclaimed the Gospel in Hebrew, when about to go to other 
nations committed it to writing in his native tongue, and thus supplied 
the lack of his presence to them by his writing." 1 

Thus the historic evidence abounds for a Gospel by Matthew in Ar- 
amaic or Hebrew ; it cannot be broken. 

Gospel in Greek. — Modern scholars declare that our Gospel is not 
a translation, but gives strong evidence of an original work. To unravel 
this tangle of facts several theories have been proposed : (1) That a 
Gospel was written by the apostle Matthew in the Hebrew vernacular 
or Aramaic, afterward translated into Greek ; (2) or that a Gospel 
was written in Greek ; that it never existed in the supposed Hebrew 
copy ; (3) that the Gospel was written in two languages, first in the 
Hebrew for the Palestine Jews, and then it was composed, not 
translated, into Greek for Jews in Greek-speaking lands. (4) Some 
assume that the Hebrew and the Greek Gospel could not have been 
written by the same person, since in their view it is an unusual literary 
process for a writer to compose a primary document in two languages. 
But we have an exact parallel to this in Josephus, who wrote some of 
his works in Hebrew vernacular, and then rewrote them in Greek. 2 It 
is further claimed that since no Hebrew Gospel by Matthew has been 
found, he wrote none. But here again is another parallel in the works 
of Josephus. His original work in Hebrew is likewise lost, as it is be- 
lieved that the original Gospel by Matthew in Hebrew is lost. Yet it 
is generally conceded that Josephus wrote his work first in Hebrew. 
We have a similar parallel in modern times. Dr. Philip Schaff wrote 
a History of the Apostolic Church first in German, which was translated 
by another into English. Later he rewrote the entire work in English. 
Calvin likewise wrote one of his great works in Latin, and later re- 
wrote it in French. 

That Matthew, a publican and apostle, was familiar with both Hebrew 
and Greek is generally believed. That he wrote " Logia " or " Sayings " 
in Hebrew is also the prevailing view. The ancient title to the Gospel 
ascribed to him is evidence that the early Christians accepted the first 
Gospel as of apostolic authority, and a trustworthy account of the mis- 
sion and teachings of our Lord. In the various indeterminate — and in 
the present state of our knowledge indeterminable — opinions, one fun- 
damental fact emerges: our "Matthew's Gospel" has underlying it 
trustworthiness and apostolic authority, for it was either written by the 

1 Eusebius, Eccl. Hist., iii. 24. 

1 See Josephus, Preface, Jewish Wars, g 1, 



20 INTRODUCTION. 



apostle in person, dictated to an amanuensis or helper, or was written 
by some unknown pupil or disciple who was competent to present the 
facts in the tone and spirit of the apostle Matthew. This is the only 
satisfactory explanation for the ancient title. 

More than fifteen of the early Christian Fathers made numerous 
quotations from our Matthew, ascribing the matter quoted to the Apos- 
tle Matthew, and many of these quotations have been preserved to our 
time. 

Matthew, the Apostle. — Matthew was a Jew whose occupation 
was a publican or tax-gatherer of Galilee when he was called as a dis- 
ciple of our Lord, and later was chosen one of the twelve. His name 
is the same as Matthias, meaning " gift of God." ! A publican or tax- 
collector was hated as a traitor, and treated as an outcast by the Jews. 
Probably Matthew was appointed to his office by Herod to collect the 
taxes of the Roman empire. If he was responsible to Herod, his rela- 
tion to the Messianic hope and to the Jews would be somewhat differ- 
ent from that of a direct representative of the Roman emperor. Soon 
after his call to be a disciple he made a feast for the Master, apparently 
in his own house. 2 His home was probably at or near Capernaum. 
When called he was seated at a place of toll on a great caravan 
route between Damascus and the Mediterranean Sea. Little else is 
certainly known of him. He appears to have been faithful to Jesus 
during his ministry, and was in the apostolic company when Matthias 
was added to it. 3 

There is a tradition that Matthew remained in Jerusalem, or in 
Palestine, about fifteen years after our Lord's Ascension ; then accord- 
ing to Eusebius he went to other nations to proclaim the gospel. The 
historian Socrates says he preached the gospel in Ethiopia and died 
there. Clement, of Alexandria, reports that he was an ascetic, living 
on seeds, nuts, and vegetables, without flesh food, and died a natural 
death. Another tradition says that an officer of the Ethiopian king 
thrust the evangelist through the back while at prayer. Nicephorus 
reports that Matthew suffered martyrdom in Ethiopia. Still other tra- 
ditions represent him as preaching in Syria, Macedonia — where some 
say he died — in Persia, and even in India. The Roman Church com- 
memorates his martyrdom, September 21. Old Italian painters repre- 
sent him as dying by the sword of an executioner. Greek artists por- 
tray him as ending his life naturally, according to the early traditions 
in the Greek Church. 

Matthew and Levi. — Were Matthew and Levi the same person ? The 
three Gospels narrate substantially the same facts in regard to Levi and 

» Matt. 9:9; 10 : 3 ; Mark 3 : 18 ; Luke 6 : 15. 
s Matt. 9 : 10-13. » Acts 1:13. 



INTRODUCTION. 21 



to Matthew. 1 Mark and Luke record the call of a tax-gatherer named 
Levi. Mark says he was the son of Alphaeus, yet in neither is that name 
in the list of the twelve; Matthew is in all of the lists. From this 
some infer that Matthew and Levi were two different persons, one an 
apostle, the other a disciple only. So Clement, of Alexandria, and 
Origen held in early times, and some German scholars in recent times. 
The form of Christ's call to Levi, however, is the same as that used in 
calling apostles (Mark 2 : 14). The circumstances related of Levi, his 
call, his feast, and the designation of Matthew by himself as " the 
publican," form strong circumstantial evidence that Matthew's name 
before his call was Levi, and that his name was changed from Levi to 
Matthew. If Levi is not the same as Matthew, then Levi did not be- 
come an apostle and drops out of the record. A change of name was 
common. Peter was first called Simon ; Thaddseus was also called 
Lebbaeus, and it is believed Bartholomew was first known as Nathanael. 

The occupation of toll, or tax-collector, required accurate business 
habits, and gave an opportunity for wide knowledge of human nature. 
The calling would fit one for writing a Gospel, such as the Christians 
ascribed to Matthew, since the writing usually needful in making cus- 
tom reports would call for a mastery of two languages, Aramaic and 
Greek. No one could collect taxes in Galilee without a knowledge of 
the vernacular of the people, which was the western Aramaic. Equally 
necessary would be some knowledge of the Greek language in making 
reports of the taxes to Roman officials. It is fair, from the accounts, 
to assume that Matthew had a knowledge of both languages, and was 
qualified as a bilinguist to write them. 

Sources of the Gospel. — Theories respecting the origin of the written 
Gospels have drifted from a single document underlying them, to many 
documents, and then back to two underlying documents, or to two or 
more general oral traditions. The traditional or oral basis of the Gos- 
pels is likewise changing from that of many existing reports to a 
double or triple tradition springing, it is supposed, from the proclama- 
tion of the gospel by Peter, by Paul, and by John, with other varia- 
tions caused by the mission of Matthew, James, and other apostles. 
These theories have produced almost endless permutations in respect to 
the conjectured form of verbal expression in the gospel narratives. 
The "discourses" or "Logia" ascribed to Matthew are now designated 
" Q," some holding they are a source earlier than the source through 
Mark. Thus, according to one scholar, our first Gospel is the work of 
some compiler who pieced together Mark, the " Logia" of Matthew, a 
book of Messianic prophecies from the Old Testament (unknown), and 
certain Palestinian traditions about the infancy of Jesus, unknown to 

» Compare Matt. 9 : 9-13, with Mark, 2 : 14-17, and Luke 5 : 27-32. 



22 INTRODUCTION. 



Mark. Out of this patchwork the unknown compiler, according to a 
recent theory, produced our Gospel according to Matthew. 

To conclude then, present scholarship is tending toward these as the 
probable sources of the first Gospel : A collection of discourses was at 
the basis of Matthew and Luke ; that Matthew and Luke used a 
Markan source in some way ; Matthew treated the material topically, 
Luke chronologically. Thus, the oral and documentary theories as to 
the origin of the gospel are blended with the so-called dependence the- 
ories, but it is held that the documentary source still held a main influ- 
ence in the formation of the Gospel. Back of these, beyond question, 
an oral gospel must, in fact, have been the earliest form, and have pre- 
ceded any written record of any, even the first Gospels, except, perhaps, 
the family and tribal genealogies, and the references to Jewish 
prophecy. 

Belation to Other Gospels. — The agreements and peculiarities in the 
contents of the first three Gospels have caused them to be designated 
" Synoptic Gospels." 1 

Looking at the sum of all the material in the first three Gospels, a 
careful examination shows that Matthew's material amounts to over 
one-third of the whole in the three, and that more than two-fifths of 
his Gospel is peculiar to it, and is not found in the other two. Only 
about one-tenth of the material in Mark's Gospel is peculiar to Mark. 
From a careful computation of the number of Greek words in the three 
Gospels, and the number in Matthew's Gospel, it is again found that 
Matthew has about £§ of the sum of the material in the Synoptics. 
Some find the proportion of agreements in the Synoptics as follows: 
Matthew, fifc ; Mark, fifo ; Luke, ^o J an( * of the dissimilarities or 
proportions peculiar to each : Matthew, T 4 ^ ; Mark, T J^ ; Luke, y 5 ^. 
This would show that about two-fifths of the contents of the Gospels 
are common to the three, and that three-fifths are not common to the 
three. Mark, however, has not more than 24 verses to which parallels 
do not exist in either Matthew or Luke. 

Putting it in another way by verses, I find 399 out of 1071 verses in 
Matthew are peculiar to his Gospel ; 63 out of 678 verses in Mark's 
Gospel are peculiar to it, and 655 out of 115] verses are peculiar to 
Luke's Gospel. Reuss, from a computation based on German harmon- 
ies, finds only 350 verses peculiar to Matthew, 68 to Mark, and 541 to 
Luke. He discovers more common matter, and less that is diverse 
in the first and third Gospels than in my computation, which is based 
upon latest Greek Harmonies. 

Date. — As before noted, early Christians placed the date of writing 
of Matthew's Gospel all the way from 41 A. d. to 60 A. D. Modern 

1 For a treatment of the Synoptic Problem, see my Commentary on Luke, pp. 15-19. 



INTRODUCTION. 23 



critics suggest dates all the way from 37 A. d. to 100 A. d. It is generally 
conceded that Luke's Gospel was written after that of Matthew and 
Mark, but before The Acts. Now if the book of The Acts was written 
about the time, or soon after, the first imprisonment of Paul (the last 
fact noticed in the book), then we cannot place Luke's Gospel later than 
about 61 or 62. These considerations would indicate that the date of 
the writing of Matthew's Gospel was before or not later than 61 A. d. 

For Whom Written. — It was a prevalent belief of the early Christians 
that the first Gospel was chiefly for the Hebrews. Internal evidence in 
the book itself points to this conclusion. The thought, expression , ar- 
gument, and application in the Gospel indicate that it was written in a 
Jewish atmosphere, and chiefly for Jewish readers. Instances, com- 
paratively few, give explanations for the information of other readers. 1 
These facts are of value in interpreting some passages of the Gospel. 

Hie Purpose. — The chief design of this Gospel obviously was to con- 
vince readers that Jesus of Nazareth was the Messiah — the Christ. 
This accounts for the strong flavor of the Old Testament in the book. 
There are more than seventy quotations from, or references to, the He- 
brew Scriptures in this short Gospel. It emphasizes over and over 
again the Messiahship of Jesus. It insists that Jesus fulfilled certain 
Messianic prophecies. 

The arrangement of the material is topical, not chronological. Events 
are often grouped or narrated according to some principle of natural 
association. It passes over the Judaean ministry, and presents chiefly 
the ministry in Galilee. According to Eusebius this is why the Gospel 
of John was written later. For, he says, " The apostle John, being 
entreated, wrote the account of the time not recorded by the former 
evangelists." 2 

Symbols of Fourfold Gospels. — The Fathers — Jerome, Ambrose, and 
others — and mediaeval writers suppose that the fourfold Gospel was a 
mysterious symbolic intimation that it would extend to the four quar- 
ters of the globe. They proposed symbols to represent the four evan- 
gelistic writers, based upon the four-faced cherubim of Ezekiel. The 
symbol of Matthew was a man, of Mark a lion, of Luke an ox, of John 
an eagle. Irenseus, however, assigns the eagle to Mark, and the lion 
to John. Augustine a lion to Matthew, and a man to Mark. Some 
others gave the ox to Mark, and the lion to Luke ; and still others, an 
ox to Matthew, and a man to Luke. But the prevailing symbols fol- 
lowed the order in Ezek. 1 : 10, as reported by Jerome and Ambrose. 

General Character. — Matthew presents the gospel for the He- 
brews ; the gospel of the " Old Covenant," the birth and mission of the 



i See Matt. 1 : 23, 27 ; 8 : 33, 46. 
* Eccl. Hist, iii, 24. 



24 INTRODUCTION. 



Messiah. His keynote is the " kingdom of heaven " — the Messianic 
kingdom — set up on the earth. It omits an account of the Ascension ; 
but Jesus is the Messiah, the ever-ruling and ever-present King. 

Matthew shows how the " Old Covenant" comes to full fruitage in 
the "New," and thus it naturally and historically is placed first in the 
"reception room" of the Christian Scriptures. From its ample gate- 
way we look back upon the grandeur of the prophetic symbols, and 
from its royal windows we look forward to the yet-coming glories of 
"the kingdom of heaven," to the Messiah "upon the throne of his 
glory," "and all the holy angels with him," and to the assembly before 
him gathered from all nations, and his award to the righteous, " life 
eternal." l 

Mark presents the gospel for Romans, the supernatural power of 
Christ — a graphic, swift sketch that fills the reader with amazement 
and awe. His is the story Peter proclaimed, "Jesus of Nazareth," 
" how that God anointed him with the Holy Spirit and with power : who 
went about doing good, and healing all that were oppressed of the 
devil ; for God was with him." 2 

Luke presents a more chronological and orderly account of what 
Christians believe for the instruction of Greek Christians. 

John fills gaps left by the synoptic writers supplying the Judsean 
ministry, and portrays the mystery of faith. He reveals as none other 
the very heart of Christ. Hence, the first Gospel is Oriental and for 
the self-centered, proud, religiously self-sufficient Hebrew ; the second, 
by one of social position, was a Gospel for the practical, military, 
dominant Roman; the third was a Gospel for the literary, spec- 
ulative, art-loving Greek ; the fourth was for the meditative, heavenly- 
minded soul on the Delectable Mountains, getting a vision of the 
Celestial City. The first sets forth Jesus in Messianic and kingly char- 
acter ; the second as the mighty wonder-worker, the Son of man ; the 
third as the world's Redeemer ; and the fourth as the Son of God, the 
Light of the world. 

i Matt. 25 : 31, 46. 
a Acts 10 : 38. 



oLto fro~ 



A COMMENTARY 



ON THE 



GOSPEL ACCORDING TO MATTHEW. 



Chap. I. Birth-List of Jesus Christ, vs. 1-17. 
Compare Luke 3 : 23-38. 

1. The Book ... of Jesus Christ] This sentence may be a title or 
heading either to the Gospel, to the infancy narrative, chaps. 1 and 2, or more 
likely to the birth-list or genealogy of the ancestry of Jesus. The general 
title, Evayt?.tov = u Gospel," has been traced back to " Teaching of the Apos- 
tles," about 120 A. d. Tribal and family birth-lists were carefully handed 
down from father to son in the East. The rights to property, of a priest to 
office, and many civil and social questions, were settled by appeals to these 
birth-lists. The Greek word here for book or roll, means the record of 
the ancestry of Jesus. The Greek term for " generation " means literally 
" origin" or " birth." (See v. 18, where the same word is rendered " birth.") 

"Jesus" is the Greek for the Hebrew Joshua, a contraction of Jehoshua 
or Jeshua, Hoshea, and Oshea. In Hebrew it means " Jehovah helps " or 
"saves." In Greek it means "Saviour." "Christ" is the Greek for the 
Hebrew " Messiah " — " anointed." Why this birth-list ? Every Jew would 
ask regarding one who claimed to be the Messiah, " Is he the son of David ?' ' 
See Matt. 22 : 42. The first step in proving that Jesus was the Messiah was 
to show that he was David's son. This was the main purpose of Matthew in 
writing his Gospel. 

2-15. The Birth-List. — This record of the ancestry of Joseph shows 
that Jesus, son of Joseph's wife Mary, is the son of David. In this list we 



Common Version. 

CHAP. I.— The book of the generation of 
Jesus Christ, the son of David, the son 
of Abraham. 

2 Abraham begat Isaac; and Isaac begrat 
Jacob; and Jacob begat Judas and his 
brethren ; 

3 And Judas begat Phares and Zara of 
Thamar; and Phares begat Esrom; and 
Esrom begat Aram; 

4 And Aram begat Aminadab; and Amin- 
adab begat Naasson ; and Naasson begat 
Salmon ; 

5 And Salmon begat Booz of Rachab ; and 
Booz begat Obed of Ruth ; and Obed begat 
Jesse ; 

6 And Jesse begat David the king; and 
David the king begat Solomon of her that had 
btrn the wife of Urias ; 

1 Or, The genealogy of Jesus Christ 



Revised Version. 

1 ifTlHE book of the feneration of Jesus 
JL Christ, the son of David, the sou of 
Abraham. 

2 Abraham begat Isaac; and Isaac begat 
Jacob; and Jacob begat Jiulah and his 

3 brethren; and Judah begat Perez and 
Zerah of Tamar; and Perez begat Hez- 

4 ron ; and Hozron begat 3 Ram ; and ;: Ram 
begat Amminadab ; and Amminadab be- 
gat Nahshon ; and Nahshon be<rat Sal- 

5 mon ; and Salmon begat Boaz of Rahab ; 

6 and Boaz begat Obed of Ruth ; and Obed 
begat Jesse ; and Jesse begat David the 
king. 

And David begat Solomon of her that 



2 Or, birth : as in v. 18. 



8 Gr. Aram 



26 



A COMMENTARY ON THE GOSPEL OF MATTHEW. [Matt. 1 : 7-16. 



note : 1. Omissions. It was not necessary to give every link in the line ; 
enough names are given from the records to prove the line of descent from 
Abram and David to Joseph and Jesus. 2. Name forms. The forms of some 
names vary from those in the Old Testament, due to the English version of 
1611 and the Greek mode of spelling those names. Some of these variations 
disappear in the English Revised Versions. 3. Women names. Four women 
are included in the record, an unusual thing among Orientals. Two of the 
women mentioned, Rahab and Ruth, were not Hebrews ; two were stained 
with sin, Thamar and Bath-sheba, the wife of Uriah. Many kings in the 
list were guilty of great sins. There is no attempt to hide the dark char- 
acters in this birth-list. Jesus Christ came to save sinners. 4. Names in- 
jected. Some are mentioned who are not in the line, as the brethren of Judah 
and Zerah, and the brethren of Jechouiah. Jechoniah's brethren may have 
been noticed because Jeremiah says : " write ye this man childless," Jer. 22 : 30. 
We know that he was not literally childless, since Salathiel and six others are 
named as his sons, 1 Chron. 3 : 17, 18. Moreover, Jeremiah (22: 28) recog- 
nizes that Coniah or Jechoniah had children, who were to be hurled, " he and 
his seed, into a land they know not." The prophet then predicts that no 
son of his should sit " upon the throne of David." The throne was vacant 
until the Messiah came. Why some are named and others omitted we do 
not know. 

16. husband of Mary, of whom was born] Why this change in 
noting the record ? Had Jesus been begotten as those preceding him we 
would have expected the record to continue, " and Joseph begat Jesus." But 
it does not so continue. Does noi the change of record here presuppose the 
virgin birth? And while Jesus was a man he was more than man. As such, 
some unusual origin might be expected. 

The names in the birth-list are in three groups, of fourteen generations in 
each group. The first group begins with Abram, and ends with David ; the 
second begins with Solomon, and ends with Jechoniah and the captivity at 



Common Version. 

7 And Solomon begat Roboam ; and Robo- 
am begat Abia ; and Abia begat Asa ; 

8 And Asa begat Josaphat ; and Josaphat 
begat Joram ; and Joram begat Ozias ; 

9 And Ozias begat Joatharu ; and Joathani 
begat Acbaz ; and Achaz begat Ezekias ; 

10 And Ezekias begat Manasses ; and Ma- 
nasses begat Anion ; and Anion begat Josias ; 

11 And Josias begat Jechonias and his 
brethren, about the time they were carried 
away to Babylon : 

12 And after they were brought to Baby- 
lon, Jechonias begat Salathiel ; and Salathiel 
begat Zorobabel ; 

13 And Zorobabel becrat Abiud ; and Abiud 
begat Eliakim ; and Eliakim begat Azor ; 

14 And Azor begat Sadoc : and Sadoc begat 
Achim : and Achim begat Kliud ; 

15 And Eliud begat Eleazar; and Eleazar 
begat Matthan; and Matthan beyat Jacob; 

16 And Jacob begat Joseph the husband 
of Mary, of whom was born Jesus, who is 
called Christ. 

1 Gr. Asaph. 2 Gr. Amos. 3 Or, 



Revised Version. 

7 had been the wife of Uriah ; and Solomon 
begat Rehoboam ; and Rehoboam begat 

8 Abijah ; and Abijah begat !Asa; and 1 Asa 
begat Jehoshaphat ; and Jehoshaphat be- 

9 gat Joram ; and Joram begat Uzziah ; and 
Uzziah begat Jotham ; and Jotham begat 

10 Ahaz ; and Ahaz begat Hezekiah ; and 
Hezekiah begat Manasseh ; and Manasseh 

11 begat 2 Amon ; and 2 Amon begat Josiah ; 
and Josiah begat Jechoniah and his 
brethren, at the time of the 3 carrying 
away to Babylon. 

12 And after the 3 carrying away to Baby- 
lon, Jechoniah begat 4 Shealtiel; and 4 She- 

13 altiel begat Zerubbabol; and Zerubbabel 
begat Abiud; and Abiud begat Eliakim; 

14 and Eliakim begat Azor; and Azor begat 

15 Sadoc ; and Sadoc be^at Achim ; and 
Achim begat Eliud ; and Kliud begat Ele- 
azar ; and Eleazar begat Matthan ; and 

16 Matthan begat Jacob; and Jacob begat 
Joseph the husband of Mary, of whom 
was born Jesus, who is called Christ. 

removal to Babylon 4 Gr. Salathiel. 



Matt. 1 : 17, 18.] BIRTH OF JESUS. 27 

Babylon ; the third begins with the captivity, and ends with Jesus. Or, the 
second group may begin with David and end with Josiah. The value of the 
list is not in its completeness nor exactness of names, but in showing that 
Jesus was in the Davidic line. 

17. fourteen generations] Fourteen is a symbolic not arithmetic 
number. By this grouping, however, the record could be much more easily 
retained in memory. Great portions of local history and of family annals 
in the East were preserved in memory, the facts being grouped like this fam- 
ily lineage to be more easily and accurately remembered. Joseph and Mary 
went to Bethlehem for enrollment, where a trustworthy record of their fam- 
ily lineage would be retained. Some tribal and family records were kept in 
towns where scribes were to be found. This birth-list was evidently compiled 
from records. We know there were such records, for Josephus says : " I give 
the descent of our family exactly as I find it written in the public records." 
The Jews would have surely pointed out errors if they could in this birth- 
list, since the purpose of citing it was to prove that Jesus as Messiah was 
descended from David. 

The list in Luke 3 : 23-38 differs widely from this in Matthew. The dif- 
ferences are treated in my work on Luke's Gospel. To reconcile the dis- 
crepancies it has been proposed : 1. That Luke gives the natural descent or 
birth-list of Joseph, while Matthew gives the legal succession as to inherit- 
ance. 2. That Matthew gives the ancestry of Joseph, while Luke gives that 
of Mary. 3. That Matthew and Luke both give the line of Joseph, but that 
Jacob and Heli were brothers, and Matthan and Melchi were grandfathers to 
Joseph. That Matthan married and had a son Jacob, and died. His widow 
married Melchi, who then had Heli. That Heli married and died, and Jacob 
married his widow and had Joseph. This view was widely held by the early 
Fathers. This much seems clear: the Davidic descent of Jesus was not 
seriously doubted by the Jews of his era. Had his descent been open to 
question, either through Joseph or Mary, they would have seized upon it in 
their bitter opposition to his Messianic claims. The main fact before us now 
is, that Matthew evidently intended by this birth-list to prove that Jesus was 
the son of David. 

Birth of Jesus, vs. 18-25. 
Bethlehem, b. c. 5-4. 

18. the birth of Jesus Christ] Matthew now relates the birth of Jesus 
the Messiah. Mary was betrothed, not married. He tells of the angel's visit 

Common Version. Revised Version. 

17 So all the generations from Abraham to I 17 So all the generations from Abraham 
David are fourteen generations; and from unto David are fourteen generations; and 
David until the carrying away into Babylon from David unto the x carrying away to 
are fourteen generations; and from the car- Babylon fourteen generations; and from 
rying away into Babylon unto Christ are the Carrying away to Babylon unto the 
fourteen generations. Christ fourteen generations. 

18 fl Now the birth of Jesus Christ was on 18 Now the 2 birth 3 of Jesus Christ was on 
1 Or, removal to Babylon 2 Or, generation: as in v. 1. 3 Some ancient authorities read 

©/ the Christ. 

* That there were such records we know from what Josophus says of his lineage: "I 
give the descent of our family exactly as I find it written in the public records." 



28 



A COMMENTARY ON THE GOSPEL OF MATTHEW. [MATT. 1 : 19, 20. 



to Joseph. His story may be from Joseph's view-point. Luke tells of the 
angel's visit to Mary and to Elizabeth, of John's birth, and why Joseph and 
Mary came to Bethlehem. Matthew tells of the origin of Jesus, introducing 
the story of the virgin birth by the phrase " on this wise ; " implying it was 
unlike the birth of those before named. The Greek word for " birth " sug- 
gests a genesis, the genetic origin. 

his mother Mary] " Mary had been betrothed to Joseph." Jews did 
not usually speak of the mother's ancestry. By Oriental custom, after 
betrothal Mary would be regarded as wife ; see " husband," v. 19, and " thy 
wife," v. 20, and Deut. 22 : 24. Eastern parents arranged for the betrothal 
of children, with or without the consent of the parties. Between betrothal 
and "coming together" the bride at her home rarely saw her husband or he 
his wife. Even in the primitive life of Galilee these communications were 
through a " friend," John 2:3-9; 3 : 29. The Greek for " was found " does 
not imply that she was detected or discovered as if trying to hide her condi- 
tion. The angel Gabriel had foretold this event to Mary, Luke 1 : 26-40. 
Its fulfillment was known to herself, friends doubtless told her betrothed, 
Joseph. Though John does not refer to the virgin birth, it was widely be- 
lieved. He does not question it. 

19. not willing to make her a public example] The "betrothed" 
must be divorced in the same way before as after marriage. The marriage, 
or marriage feast, was when the bride was brought to the home of the hus- 
band. The Talmud says this was a year after betrothal in the case of virgins, 
but of widows it might be only a month after, but see Gen. 24 : 55. Joseph 
was " righteous," he thought it not right to take her as his wife. He was " not 
willing;" he was against making her a public example, defaming her. So 
he was disposed to divorce her privately without reasons, a mode the law 
allowed, Deut. 24 : 1-3. His righteousness impelled him to act right, restrain- 
ing him from severe legal penalties. 

20, take unto thee Mary] The angel appears, calls Joseph a "son of 
David," directs him to take Mary his wife without fear of doing wrong ; ex- 
plains how it could be that she had done nothing to forfeit her right to be 
his wife. As Adam was a creation of God, so Jesus Christ came by a creative 
act of the Holy Spirit. 



Common Version. 

this wise: When as his mother Mary was 
espoused to Joseph, before they came to- 
gether, she was found with child of the Holy 
Ghost. 

19 Then Joseph her husband, being a just 
man, and not willing to make her a public 
example, was minded to put her away 
privily. 

20 But while he thought, on these things, 
behold, Ihe angel of the Lord appeared unto 
him in a dream, saying, Joseph, thou son of 
David, fear not to take unto thee Mary thy 
wife : for that which is conceived in her is 
of the Holy Ghost. 



Revised Version. 

this wise: When his mother Mary had 
"been betrothed to Joseph, before they 
came together she was found with child 

19 of the Holy Spirit. And Joseph her hus- 
band, being a righteous man, and not 
willing to make her a public example, 

20 was minded to put her away privily. But 
when he thought on these things, behold, 
an angel of the Lord appeared unto him 
in a dream, saying, Joseph, thou son of 
David, fear not to take unto thee Mary 
thy wife : for that which is * conceived in 

21 her is of the Holy Spirit. And she shall 
bring forth a son; and thou shalt call 



1 Gr. begotten. 



Matt. 1 : 21-25.] 



BIRTH OF JESUS. 



29 



21. she shall bring forth a sou ... . Jesus] As Gabriel had said to 
Mary, Luke 1 : 31, so the angel now says to Joseph, " she shall bring forth 
a son . . . Jesus; for it is he that shall save his people." The prophecy of 
Isa. 7 : 14, cited from the Greek, declares, " A virgin shall . . . bear a son, and 
shall call his name Immanuel." The Hebrew may be rendered " a young 
woman." Whether this citation of the prophecy is to be ascribed to the 
angel, to Joseph in a dream, or to the evangelist, is a disputed question. 
It may well be credited to the evangelist ; for though writing for Hebrews, 
he does not avoid Greek quotations. Matthew uses tiie Greek form, even for 
" Jerusalem," rather than the Hebrew, as we would expect ; while Luke uses 
the Hebrew form. This has important bearing on this quotation from the O. T. 
Greek Version. The historic testimony is in all the documents and unbroken. 
All the unmutiiated ancient MSS. of the Gospels and all the ancient ver- 
sions have the narrative of the virgin birth. In the now famous old Har- 
mony of the Gospels made in Syriac by Tatian (about 160-170 A. d.) and 
lately discovered, the story of the virgin birth is there, though the gen- 
ealogies were, for obvious reasons, not included. (For a full treatment of 
the virgin birth, see " Virgin Birth," by Prof. James Orr and by R. H« 
Griitzmacher.) 

24. Joseph . . . did as the angel . . . had bidden] Or, " ordered him." 
The dream cleared his mind. He hesitated no longer, he received Mary as his 
wife. The Greek word is intensive, " he received her to himself." The mar- 
riage feast was doubtless held, the Orientals have no marriage ceremony, or 
rite, or pledge before minister or priest as with us. The feast is implied in 
the phrase, " took to himself his wife." Joseph thus became the guardian 
and legal father of Jesus. If the angel cited the prophecy to Joseph as some 
interpret the narrative, then Joseph would understand that Mary was the 
virgin, whose son would be called Immanuel. This would not only remove 
all doubt, but be a source of great joy ; for every Jewish home of the Davidic 
line hoped to be thus distinguished by having the coming Messiah born into 
their family. This view, that the angel referred to the prophecy, is a very 
old one, strongly advocated by Chrysostom, and is accepted by many modern 
interpreters. However this may be, Joseph was satisfied ; the vision led him 



Common Version. 

21 And she shall bring forth a son, and 
thou shalt call his name JESUS: for he shall 
save his people from their sins. 

22 Now all this was done, that it might be 
fulfilled which was spoken of the Lord by 
the prophet, saying, 

23 Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and 
shall bring forth a son, and they shall call 
his name Emmanuel, which being inter- 
preted is, God with us. 

24 Then Joseph being raised from sleep 
did as the angel of the Lord had bidden him, 
and took unto him his wife: 

25 And knew her not till she had brought 
forth her firstborn son: and he called his 
name JESUS. 



Revised Version. 

his name JESUS; for it is he that shall 

22 save his people from their sins. Now all 
this is come to pass, that it might be ful- 
filled which was spoken by the Lord 
through the prophet, saying, 

23 Behold, the virgin shall be with child, 

and shall bring forth a son, 
And they shall call his name * Im- 
manuel ; 
which is, being interpreted, God with us. 

24 And Joseph arose from his sleep, and did 
as the angel of the Lord commanded him, 

25 and took unto him his wife- and knew 
her not till she had brought forth a son: 
and he called his name JESUS. 



1 Gr. Emmanuel. 



bi) A COMMENTARY ON THE GOSPEL OF MATTHEW. [Matt. 2 : !• 



to expect some unusual event of importance to Israel that would be closely 
connected with his family. 

550. brought forth a son] The Greek reading is disputed. The old 
text reads, " her firstborn son." But old manuscripts omit " her firstborn," 
as in the R. V. The text has a direct bearing upon the question whether 
Mary had other children. The Greek reading, " she brought forth her first- 
born son," is in Luke 2 : 7, and, beyond dispute, the true reading there. 
Jerome and Augustine, among early Christian Fathers and Roman Catholic 
scholars, zealously insist that Mary never had other children. The Roman- 
ists esteem celibacy a more holy state than marriage, hence that Mary con- 
tinued a virgin, and they twist other Scriptures to favor their view. Some 
Protestant writers are of the opinion that Mary had no other children, but 
the prevailing view is that Mary and Joseph had other children, brothers 
and sisters of Jesus. They give these among other reasons : 

1. The use of the word "till" (v. 24) cannot be counted in favor of nor 
against the view. Yet that word prepares the mind for the undisputed state- 
ment in Luke 2 : 7. Had the evangelist intended to say Mary was not the 
mother of other children, the term would have been " only-born " and not 
" firstborn." 2. Then Matthew also speaks of " brethren " or " brothers," so 
the Greek in Matt. 12: 46, and he reports the names of these brothers, Matt. 
13 : 55 ; compare also Mark 6 : 3 and John 7 : 5. Some explain these state- 
ments as referring to children of Joseph by a former wife, or by a levirate 
marriage, Deut. 25 : 5, or that they were cousins. These are very unsatis- 
factory conjectures. The son was called Jesus as the angel directed. 

Suggestive Applications. — 1. Through Jewish family records and dry 
genealogies our faith in Christ may be confirmed. 2. Jesus fulfilled Old 
Testament prophecy. 3. Mary's faith was sorely tried ; so God often tries 
the faith of good persons. 4. Joseph, in his perplexity, was given divine 
direction; so God often comforts and guides his perplexed saints. 5. Mark 
the providence that called Joseph to Bethlehem, so that the infant Jesus was 
born there ; and how marvellously Scripture was fulfilled. 6. Christ became 
man to save us ; we believe this incarnation of the divine Saviour, but we 
cannot comprehend it ; for we cannot comprehend God. 

Chap. II. Visit of the Wise Men. vs. 1-12. 
Bethlehem, b.c 4. 

Analysis. — Magi or wise men come from the east to Jerusalem seeking the 
King of the Jews, led by a star, vs. 1, 2. Herod learns from the priests that 
Christ should be born at Bethlehem, vs. 3-6. He sends the wise men there 
to find the infant King, pretending that he too would worship him, vs. 7, 8. 
The men see the star again, find Mary and her child, make gifts to the child, 
and return another way home, vs. 8-12. Warned by an angel, Joseph escapes 
with the mother and child into Egypt, vs. 13-15. Herod slays all the boys 
two years old and under in Bethlehem, vs. 16-18. After Herod was dead, 
Joseph, Mary and the child return to Nazareth in Galilee, vs. 19-23. 

The visit of the wise men is related by Matthew only j lie presents it as 
another proof that Jesus was the Christ. 



Matt. 2 : 1.] 



VISIT OF THE WISE MEN. 



31 



1. Jesus was born in Bethlehem] Prophecy declared that the Messiah 

should be born in Bethlehem. Matthew now narrates how Jesus was born 
in that town, and who came to seek him. The wise men came because they 
had been divinely informed that the Jewish Messiah, whom they, too, had 
long expected, was born. 

Bethlehem is about two hours (six miles) south of Jerusalem. It is still 
called Beit-Lahm, house of flesh, while the Hebrew Beth-lehem means " house 
of bread." It is prettily perched upon a limestone or chalky ridge of hills 
having steep terraced slopes. The place was not large, though it now has 
about 8000 population, chiefly Christians. Its old name, before the Hebrews 
settled in Canaan, was Ephrath or Ephratah, Gen. 48 : 7. It was also called 
" Bethlehem of Judsea" to distinguish it from another Bethlehem in Zebulun, 
Josh. 19 : 15. Bethlehem has an ancient and honorable history. Near it 
Rachel died, Gen. 35 : 19, and her tomb is still shown about a mile away in 
the valley toward Jerusalem. It was the home of Naomi, of Boaz, and of 
Ruth ; and Bethlehem was also the birthplace of David, 1 Sam. 17 : 12. It 
was rebuilt or fortified by Rehoboam, 2 Chron. 11:6, and lastly it was the 
birthplace of Jesus. 

The town has no natural water-supply, but there are numerous cisterns ; 
a rock cistern to the northwest is pointed out as the traditional well from 
which David's warriors brought him water, 2 Sam. 23 : 14-16. There is also 
a small spring about half a mile east of the convent. The people are indus- 
trious and thrifty, having numerous flocks and herds, and their vineyards 
are counted among the best in the country. The valleys to the north and 
south of the town are deep, but the slopes are terraced, and covered with 
olive, fig and other trees, and with vines. The main street is about half a 
mile long ; the other streets are short and narrow, generally leading into the 
main street. The convent and the " Church of the Nativity " and " Church 
of St. Mary" are in the west part of the town. The monastery or convent is 
fortress-like, and within it is the church, occupied by Greeks, Latins and 
Armenians. The old basilica of Constantine tradition says stands on the site 
of the stable where Christ was born. It is the oldest church in Palestine, 
and the place was noticed by Justin Martyr in the second century. The 
" Grotto of the Nativity " is beneath the chancel of this ancient basilica, and 
is reached by two winding staircases. The grotto is about 40 feet long by 10 
or 12 feet wide. At the north end of the crypt is shown the room or study 
where Jerome spent about thirty years in making a Latin translation of the 
Bible, called the Vulgate. The tradition which locates the birthplace of 
Jesus in this "grotto" is much clearer and stronger than many other local 
traditions in the Holy Land, and is accepted by Greeks, Latins, Armenians, 



Common Version. 

CHAP. II.— Now when Jesus was born in 
Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Her- 
od the king, behold, there came wise men 
from the east to Jerusalem, 



Eevised Version. 

2 Now when Jesus was born in Bethlehem 
of Judaea in the days of Herod the king, 
behold, l wise men from the east came 



1 Gr. Magi. Compare Esther 1 : 13 ; Dan. 2 : 12 



32 A COMMENTARY ON THE GOSPEL OF MATTHEW. [Matt. 2 : t. 

and by many modern scholars. It is however regarded as of doubtful value 
by Stanley, Robinson, and many other recent explorers. 

It is quite certain that the birthplace was a khan or Oriental inn, and in 
that part of it assigned to mules and other animals of travellers. The khan 
is usually in form a hollow square, with arches at the sides within, where 
mules and muleteers rest, while over these arches are rooms for the travellers 
themselves. As the " rooms " in the Bethlehem inn were full, Joseph and 
Mary found shelter with the beasts, where muleteers now usually find rest. 
The shepherds found the babe in the manger. When the wise men came, 
some days later, the mother and child had found room with some hospitable 
persons in " the house." 

It is remarkable that neither Jesus during his ministry nor the twelve ever 
visited Bethlehem, so far as Scripture records show. 

Date of Christ's Birth. — The year when Jesus was born is not stated in 

Scripture, and is not certainly known. The beginning of our Christian era 

was fixed by Dionysius, a monk who lived in the sixth century. He reckoned 

it from the incarnation (about nine months before the actual birth) of Christ. 

He assumed that the birth was in the year of Rome (A.u.c.) 754, and upon 

December 25 of a.d. 1. But it is now known that Herod died before the 

Passover in the year of Rome 750. Yet Jesus was born some time before 

Herod died. Hence our present date is over four years too late. The true 

date of the birth of Jesus cannot be fixed later than the year of Rome (a.u.c.) 

749. There is often much confusion in changing dates from the Roman era 

to the Christian era, owing to the year B.C. 1 and the year a.d. 1 coming 

together. This table will make the change clear : 

A.u.c. (Roman), 749 750 751 752 753 754 755 756 .. . 780 

B.c. (Christian), 5 4 3 2 1 A.D. 12 3 27 

Since Herod died before the Passover A.u.c. 750, and after Jesus was born, 
the birth of Jesus cannot be fixed later than the last part of the year 749 
A.u.c. or B.C. 5. He was therefore four years old at the beginning of our 
Christian era, and over thirty-three years old at the time of his crucifixion 
in a.d. 30. These dates are accepted as approximately correct by nearly all 
recent Biblical scholars. 

The day of Christ's birth is more uncertain than the year. The early 
Christians did not observe any day as Christ's birthday. Clement of Alex- 
andria about a.d. 215 speaks of some who placed the birth about May 20. 
Others thought April 19 or 20 the truer date. Some eastern Christians kept 
January 6 as the day of Christ's baptism and birth. In the fourth century 
the western Church began to celebrate December 25 as Christmas, Christ's 
birthday, and this custom gradually spread into the East, for Chrysostom 
speaks of the custom in his day as having come from the West. There is 
nothing in the Gospels to enable us to fix the date with any certainty. 

wise men from the east came] Or, literally, "magi from the east 
arrived at Jerusalem. " " Wise men," " wizards" still come east into Syria. 
Persian physicians are still in repute throughout Turkey. Hindu magicians 
and enchanters still wander into western Asia. The magi are an ancient 



Matt. 2 : 2.] VISIT OF THE WISE MEN. 33 

class in the East. The word may be of Median origin, where it originally 
signified " a priest," though Schrader and Miiller regard it as Babylonian. 
Herodotus tells us the magi formed one of the six tribes into which the 
Medes were divided, u sacred and priestly class, like the Levites among the 
Hebrews. They were students of the stars, and of all occult matters. So 
the Greeks, as Plato and Philo, regarded the magi as observers of the heavens 
and students of the mysteries of nature. This class were numerous and influ- 
ential in Chaldsea, for Jeremiah speaks of Rab-mag, or the chief of the magi, 
Jer. 39 : 3, 13 ; and Daniel frequently mentions classes of them, and was him- 
self counted among them, Dan. 2 : 2, 18 ; 4:7. There is a mediaeval tra- 
dition that these wise men were three kings, representing the three great ' 
families of Shem, Ham and Japheth. It is also said that their names were 
Caspar, Melchior and Balthasar, and that they were from Arabia. This was 
perhaps due to a misinterpretation of Ps. 72 : 10, since the kings of Seba and 
Sheba are there spoken of as bringing gifts. The Romanists have added to 
the legend, and profess to show the skulls of the three kings carefully pre- 
served in the cathedral of Cologne on the Rhine ! 

2. Where is . . . King of the Jews ?] Or, literally, " Where is the 
born-king of the Jews ?" the newly-born King. For Herod was not a born- 
king. They would naturally expect to find the Jewish King in their capital 
city. It was clear they did not refer to Herod, but to the coming Messiah. 
The captive Jews in Babylon would leave there some knowledge of this hope 
of a great prince or ruler, which the magi might hand down as among the 
mysterious things to be watched. So when the Maccabaean princes took the 
throne, the rights of the Messiah were reserved. See 1 Mac. 14 : 41. This 
title " King of the Jews " appears again, on the cross, Matt. 27 : 37. 

his star in the east] That is, the star which was the sign of his coming. 
Orientals are great readers of the stars. They believe the stars have great 
power over all human affairs. Even the Jews demanded a "sign from 
heaven" to attest the mission of Jesus, Matt. 16:1. Zoroaster (centuries 
before the Christian era) predicted that a mighty person should arise in the 
latter days, and that his posterity should see a star which would herald his 
coming. Much speculation has been given to the question what this star was. 
Kepler the great astronomer suggested that it might be a new star, and a 
conjunction of the planets Saturn and Jupiter A.u.c. 747, similar to a con- 
junction of the planets which he observed in 1604. But Pritchard and others 
have shown that the two planets would be separated by twice the apparent . 
diameter of the moon, and would not appear as one star. Nor would an 
ordinary comet answer the conditions of the narrative ; for at its reappear- 
ance the "star" "went before them, till it came and stood over where the 



Common Version. 

2 Saying, Where is he that is horn King 
of the Jews? for we have seen his star in the 
east, and are come to worship him. 



Revised Version. 

2 to Jerusalem, saying, l Where is he teat 
is born King of the Jews? for we saw his 
star in the east, and are come to 2 worship 



1 Or, Where is the King of the Jews that is born f 

2 The Greek word denotes an act of reverence, whether paid to man (see chap. 18 : 26) or 
to God (see chap. 4 : 10). 

3 



34 



A COMMENTARY ON THE GOSPEL OF MATTHEW. [Matt. 2 : 3-6. 



young child was," v. 9. The whole account shows some special movement 
of the star, and implies an extraordinary appearance. See Rev. 22 : 16. 

3. he was troubled] Seven Herods are named in the New Testament 
This one is known as " Herod the Great," though he was not so called during 
his life. He was the son of Antipater, an Edomite ; the Roman Antony 
made him tetrarch, and the Roman senate later made Herod king of Judaea. 
He was shrewd, suspicious, violent, malicious, cruel and barbarous. He had 
ten wives and several sons ; but Augustus the emperor said of Herod, " I 
would rather be his sow than his son" He ruled about thirty-seven years, 
and at seventy years of age died a miserable death in Jericho, 4 B.C. The 
news of a "born-King" of the Jews caused great excitement in Herod's 
court, and among all Jews. 

4. the chief priests] The Mosaic law provided for only one " chief 
priest," but it was a rich and influential office ; the Romans deposed and 
appointed them for political reasons, so there were several ex-high priests. 
Perhaps the chiefs of the twenty-four courses were also so called. See Ezra 
8 : 24 ; Neh. 12 : 7. Josephus- gives the title chief priest to all who had been 
high priests, and even to some who never were actually in that office, but 
who belonged to the family from which that person was chosen, and was 
therefore eligible to the office. Luke appears to follow a similar custom in 
naming John, Alexander and Sceva, Acts 4:6; 19 : 14, neither of whom was 
ever known to have been appointed high priest. 

and scribes] The scribe (Hebrew sopher, from saphar, " to count," because 
he counted the letters of the law) held an office that often made him more 
influential than the priests ; for he copied and interpreted the holy law, was 
eligible to the Sanhedrin, and looked upon as expert to settle difficult ques- 
tions. As a class the scribes became arrogant, and their decisions, " tradi- 
tions," of more authority than the law, Matt. 15 : 3. 

6. that shall rule my people] Or, " who shall be shepherd of my 
people," R. V. The priests and scribes knew the prophecy ; they could 
answer Herod without hesitation and point him to the text in their Script- 
ures, Micah 5 : 2. They cited it as to sense rather than in precise words. 
Homer also calls kings the shepherds of the people. So Jesus calls him- 
self the good Shepherd, John 10 : 11. 



Common Version. 

3 When Herod the king had heard these 
things, he was troubled, and all Jerusalem 
with him. 

4 And when he had gathered all the chief 
priests and scribes of the people together, 
he demanded of them where Christ should 
be born. 

5 And they said unto him, In Bethlehem 
ef Judea; for thus it is written by the 
prophet, 

6 And thou Bethlehem, in the land of Ju- 
da, art not the least among the princes of 
Juda: for out of thee shall come a Governor, 
that shall rule my people Israel. 



Revised Version. 

3 him. And when Herod the king heard 
it, he was troubled, and all Jerusalem 

4 with him. And gathering together all 
the chief priests and scribes of the people, 
he inquired of them where the Christ 

5 should be born. And they said unto him, 
In Bethlehem of Judaea: for thus it is 
written through the prophet, 

6 And thou Bethlehem, land of Judah, 
Art in no wise least among the princes 

of Judah : 

For out of thee shall come forth a gov- 
ernor, 

Who shall be shepherd of my people 
Israel. 



KAMASI.D.S. SEMINARY 



Matt. 2: 7-11. J 



VISIT OF THE WISE MEN. 



35 



7. Herod . . . inquired . . • diligently] Herod was crafty. He se- 
cretly calls the wise men, "learned of them carefully," K. V., or, literally, 
"learned to the [last] point," that is, accurately, the time that the star 
appeared. This would suggest to him how old the infant King might be. 
Then he pretended to want to worship this newly-born King also ; so he 
sent them to Bethlehem and bid them seek carefully, to find the right one, 
and report to him. 

8. Go and search diligently] Or, " Go and search out carefully con- 
cerning the young child," R. V. Herod was cruel and arbitrary. He 
formed his bloody purpose quickly and secretly. He was full of such ter- 
rible plots. About that time he set a golden eagle over the doorway to the 
temple. Some Jews dared to tear it down and break it in pieces, but Herod 
discovered them and ordered them burnt alive. He arrested several of the 
best and most prominent citizens of Jerusalem, put them in prison, and gave 
secret orders that they be assassinated the moment he himself died, so that 
some one would be in mourning at his death. His bloody order was not 
carried out. 

10. saw the star] As the wise men went from Herod the star reap- 
peared to them. How long before they had lost sight of it, is not stated, but 
the words imply that it was unseen for the greater part of their journey. 
But now it " went before them, till it came and stood over where the young 
child was." This cannot well refer to Bethlehem only, but to " the house," 
v. 11. Their joy was great, which also implies they had not seen the star 
for some time. 

11* come into the house] The family would not stay long in the stable 
of an inn ; they were now in "the house," though the visit of the wise men 
is usually but wrongly pictured in art as in a stable or inn. The crowd of 
the previous days would be away, and lodgings easily found in a private 
house. 

presented unto him gifts] Or, "offered unto him gifts." They fell 



Common Version. 

7 Then Herod, when he had privily called 
the wise men, inquired of them diligently 
what time the star appeared. 

8 And he sent them to Bethlehem, and 
said, Go and search diligently for the young 
child ; and when ye have found him, bring 
me word again, that I may come and wor- 
ship him also. 

9 When they had heard the king, they de- 
parted; and, lo, the star, which they saw in 
the east, went before them, till it came and 
stood over where the young child was. 

10 When they saw the star, they rejoiced 
with exceeding great joy. 

11 fl And when they were come into the 
house, they saw the young child with Mary 
his mother, and fell down, and worshipped 
him : and when they had opened their treas- 
ures, they presented unto him gifts; gold, 
and frankincense, and myrrh. 



Revised Version. 

7 Then Herod privily called the 1 wise men, 
and learned of them carefully 2 what time 

8 the star appeared. And he sent them to 
Bethlehem, and said, Go and search out 
carefully concerning the young child; 
and when ye have found him, bring me 
word, that I also may come and worship 

9 him. And they, having heard the king, 
went their way ; and lo, the star, which 
they saw in the east, went before them, 
till it came and stood over where the 

10 young child was. And when they saw 
the star, they rejoiced with exceeding 

11 great joy. And they came into the house 
and saw the young child with Mary his 
mother; and they fell down and worship- 
ped him ; and opening their treasures they 
offered unto him gifts, gold and frank- 



1 Gr. Magi. Compare Esther 1 : 13 ; Dan. 2 : 12. 2 Or, the time, of the, star that appeared 



36 



A COMMENTARY ON THE GOSPEL OF MATTHEW. Matt. 2 : 12. 



down before him as before a king, and did the "young child" (literally, 
"the little child") homage. Then they opened their " treasures," caskets, 
and presented gifts suitable for a king. The magi regarded the infant Jesus 
as a royal child. Gold has always been esteemed as a proper gift to royalty. 
Frankincense was one of the fragrant gums used in making the holy oil to 
anoint priests at their consecration, Ex. 30 : 34, and was burnt as a sweet 
savor on the altar, Lev. 2 : 2. The gum was from a tree common in Africa 
and Arabia. " Myrrh " also was used in preparing the holy anointing oil, 
Ex. 30 : 25. When mixed with cinnamon and aloes it formed a valuable 
perfume, widely esteemed in the houses of the great. Thus frankincense 
and myrrh were highly prized for yielding a delicious fragrance. The 
ancient Fathers thought the number of the gifts signified the Trinity : the 
triad of Christian graces, faith, hope and love ; that gold was a symbol of our 
Saviour's royalty, frankincense of his divinity, and myrrh of his death ; but 
such interpretations of Scripture, though showing a devout spirit, are now 
commonly regarded as fanciful. 

12. being warned of God] Or, literally, " they having received an 
answer from God"; or, "having been divinely instructed." The Greek 
word primarily means " to do business with another." The term clearly 
implies that the wise men had sought counsel of God. Having presented 
their gifts, and completed the purpose of their journey, they receive divine 
instructions not to return to Herod. They return home "another way," 
avoiding Jerusalem. 

Some old expositors have written pages to prove that it was right for the 
magi to break the promise to return to Herod. But the Scriptures do not 
say that the magi ever made a promise to return, and it is pure assumption 
to hold that they agreed to do all that Herod bid them. As they were 
ignorant of the cruel and bloody purpose of Herod, which he artfully con- 
cealed from them, it is quite natural to suppose that they thought the king's 
words sincere. But perhaps something in this strange king's manner had 
aroused their suspicions, and they long for counsel. In this perplexity 
divine instruction is given and followed. This visit of the wise men must 
have comforted Joseph, and confirmed his faith, if it needed strengthening, 
in respect to the purity of Mary and the lofty character of her child. 

Since the fifth century, the visit of the wise men has been commemorated 
by the " Epiphany " or feast of the " Manifestation of Christ to the Gen- 
tiles." But that feast was first connected with the baptism of Christ, and 
the miracle at Cana. To fix the feast only twelve days after the nativity, as 
now, and regard it as a commemoration of the visit of the wise men, is not 
consistent with the course of the sacred narrative. Matthew alone notes the 
visit of the magi, and Luke alone the visit of the shepherds. In some old 
paintings and pictures we have the double blunder of the adoration of the 



Common Version. 

12 And being warned of God in a dream 
that they should not return to Herod, they 
departed into their own country another 
way. 



Revised Version. 

12 incense and myrrh. And being warned 
of God in a dream that they should not 
return to Herod, they departed into their 
own country another way. 



Matt. 2 : 13, 14.] 



FLIGHT INTO EGYPT. 



37 



shepherds and of the magi at the same time, and while the infant Jesus was 
lying in the manger. The shepherds' visit was at the time of the birth of 
Jesus, and they saw him in the manger. Luke 2 : 11, 12. But the visit of 
the magi was some time, probably forty days, after the visit of the shepherds, 
and not while the child was in the manger. 

Suggestive Applications. — 1. All things are for Christ; even the 
heavens declare his glory. 2. " Christ is wont to catch every man in the 
way of his own craft — magians with a star, fishers with fish." — Chrysostom. 

3. All science will yet point to Christ, and all true seekers will find him. 

4. Even a bad man, serving his own wicked ends, may unwittingly help 
others to Christ. 5. The Old Testament tells us of Christ. 6. There may 
be seekers for Christ where we least expect them. 7. Evil and crafty men 
are full of trouble, and spread trouble about them. 8. The cunning of 
Herod failed ; the sly plots of the wicked often fail. 9. This life is full of 
"stars," pointing us to Christ. 10. Take our best to offer Christ. 11. Are 
we rejoiced or troubled at the coming of Christ's power? 12. God warns 
and shields his own from danger. 13. Deceit in religion is the greatest 
mockery. 14. God guides those who seek him. 

Flight into Egypt, vs. 1 3-23. Compare Luke 2 : 39, 40. 
Bethlehem, Egypt, Nazareth, b.c. 4. 
The flight into Egypt and the cruel murder of the babes in Bethlehem by 
Herod are mentioned in Matthew only. The flight to Egypt must have fol- 
lowed the presentation in the temple, Luke 2 : 22-39, and the visit of the 
wise men. It was probably in January or February of B.C. 4. Three events 
are here narrated by Matthew to prove that Jesus was the Messiah : 1. The 
flight. 2. The murder of the children. 3. The return to Galilee. Each of 
these narratives ends with a statement that it is a fulfillment of prophecy. 

13. flee into Egypt] After the wise men departed, and no doubt very 
soon after, for Herod would not be long ignorant of their departure, an angel 
warns Joseph in a dream to take the child and his mother, and escape into 
Egypt, and remain there until again warned by an angel, because Herod 
wanted to kill the child. Egypt was a common refuge for dwellers in Pales- 
tine. Jeroboam fled thither, 1 Kings 11 : 40, and Johanan, Jer. 43 : 5-7, and 
many Jews had settled about Alexandria. It would be a journey of about 
one hundred miles by the coast route, the safest one for Joseph. 

14. by nig'ht, and departed] Travelling by night is the usual custom 
in Syria. He may have joined a caravan, and that would start early, by two 



Common Version. 

13 And when they were departed, behold, 
the angel of the Lord appeareth to Joseph 
in a dream, saying, Arise, and take the 
young child and his mother, and flee into 
Egypt, and he thou there until I bring thee 
word : for Herod will seek the young child 
to destroy him. 

14 When he arose, he took the young child 
and his mother by night, and departed into 
tfgypt: 



Revised Version. 



13 



Now when they were departed, behold, 
an angel of the Lord appeareth to Joseph 
in a dream, saying, Arise, and take the 
young child and his mother, and flee into 
Egypt, and be thou there until I tell thee : 
for Herod will seek the young child to 

14 destroy him. And he arose and took the 
young child and his mother by night, and 

15 departed into Egypt ; and was there until 



38 A COMMENTARY ON THE GOSPEL OF MATTHEW. [Matt. 2 : 15-18. 

or three o'clock in the morning, to escape the heat of the day. In the East 
it might not imply haste, as it would with us. 

15. Out of Egypt have I called my son] The holy family may not 
have remained in Egypt more than a few months. Herod died at Jericho, 
before the Passover, B.C. 4. Yet many stories about the journey to and the 
sojourn in Egypt are found in the apocryphal gospels. It is said that idols 
fell before the divine child ; a spring burst forth where he stopped ; robbers 
attacked the party, and one of the band rescued the family, and he became 
the penitent thief on the cross, and so on. Tradition says, perhaps truly, 
that the holy family fled to Matareeh, near Leontopolis, in the district of 
Heliopolis, where there were many Jews, and where, 150 years before, Onias, 
a priest, had built a magnificent Jewish temple in imitation of that in Jeru- 
salem. The prophecy in Hos. 11 : 1 is quoted as being fulfilled by this flight 
into Egypt. The words were originally spoken of Israel as a people, and many 
explanations have been given to show how this event fulfilled those words. 
The simplest and most satisfactory view is that Israel, as God's national son, 
included the true Israel, and the Christ, the Son of God, who is the head of 
that Israel. This is upon the principle stated long ago by Augustine, " the 
New Testament lies concealed in the Old Testament, and in the New the 
Old Testament lies revealed." 

16. Herod . . . slew all the children] Or, "slew all the male chil- 
dren," R. V. When Herod " saw that he was mocked of the wise men " — 
not that the wise men really "mocked" or "held him up to derision," but 
that he looked upon their not returning to him as deriding him — then his 
anger was furious for even a Herod. He sent his soldiers to kill all the boys 
of two years old and under in Bethlehem and " in all the borders thereof," 
R. V., believing from his accurate inquiries of the wise men that this " newly- 
born King " could not possibly be two years old. Incredible ! no, a man 
who slew his wife and sons, might do anything! The number of boys 
killed can only be conjectured. Some have supposed there were twenty; 
others upwards of an hundred. 

18. Rachel weeping for her children] Again Matthew points to a 



Common Version. 

15 And was there until the death of Herod : 
that it might be fulfilled which was spoken 
of the Lord by the prophet, saying, Out of 
Egypt have I called my son. 

16 f Then Herod, when he saw that he 
was mocked of the wise men, was exceeding 
wroth, and sent forth, and slew all the chil- 
dren that were in Bethlehem, and in all the 
coasts thereof, from two years old and un- 
der, according to the time which he had dili- 
gently inquired of the wise men. 

17 Then was fulfilled that which was spok- 
en by Jeremy the prophet, saying, 

18 In Rama was there a voice hoard, lam- 
entation, and weeping, and great mourning, 
Rachel weeping for her children, and would 
not be comforted, because they are not. 



Revised Version. 



the death of Herod: that it might be 
fulfilled which was spoken by the Lord 
through the prophet, saying, Out of Egypt 

16 did I call my son. Then Herod, when he 
saw that he was mocked of the * wise men, 
was exceeding wroth, and sent forth, and 
slew all the male children that were in 
Bethlehem, and in all the borders thereof, 
from two years old and under, according 
to the time which he had carefully learned 

17 of the ! wise men. Then was fulfilled 
that which was spoken through Jeremiah 
the prophet, saying, 

18 A voice was heard in Rarnah, 
Weeping and great mourning, 
Rachel weeping for her children ; 
And she would not be comforted, be- 
cause they are not. 

1 Gr. Magi. 



Matt. 2 : 19-23.] FLIGHT INTO EGYPT. 39 

fulfillment of prophecy ; it was in Jer. 31 : 15. When the people were 
brought together in chains at Ram ah, a few miles north of Jerusalem, 
whence they were carried away captive in gangs, Jer. 40 : 1, to Babylon, 
there was lamentation and weeping and great mourning. This scene was a 
type of the later sad scene in Bethlehem when the little babes were suddenly 
torn from mothers and slain before their eyes by the soldiers of the cruel 
Herod. Again a similar heartrending wail went up from the mothers, 
figuratively called " Rachel," as if she were the mother of all the Bethlehem 
mothers. Then, too, Ramah and Jerusalem were within the territory of 
Benjamin, and Rachel was the mother of Benjamin. There was fitness in 
this symbolic impersonation of Rachel. 

19, an angel ... to Joseph in Egypt] This is the third recorded 
appearance of an angel to Joseph, probably within about one year. Whether 
Joseph had heard of the death of Herod before the angel announced it is not 
stated, but the inference is that he had not. And as such an event would 
very soon be known in Egypt, it is probable that the divine command to 
return to the land of Israel came not long after Herod's death. 

20. they are dead which sought the young child's life] Or, liter- 
ally, " they have died who were seeking the life of the little child." For 
this reason Joseph while asleep or in a dream receives the command, " Arise, 
and take [the Greek means ' take with you'] the little child and his mother, 
and go into the land of Israel." Here again we have the type fulfilled, 
"Out of Egypt" into the promised land. The plural "they" is probably 
the plural of colloquial speech, referring only to Herod. A similar use of 
the plural occurs in Ex. 4 : 19, where Jehovah tells Moses to return to Egypt, 
"for all the men are dead which sought thy life." 

22. when he heard that Archelaus] It is evident that Joseph did not 
expect Archelaus would succeed Herod as ruler in Judaea. That news seems 
to have reached Joseph either just before he started or while on his return. 

23. He shall be called a Nazarene] Not a Nazirite, as some erro- 
neously suppose. John the Baptist belonged to that class, but Jesus did not. 
Herod the Great had four sons who are mentioned in the New Testament : 
1. Herod Antipas, who beheaded John the Baptist. 2. Archelaus, who suc- 



COMMON VERSION. 

19 f But when Herod was dead, behold, an 
angel of the Lord appeareth in a dream to 
Joseph in Egypt, 

20 Saying, Arise, and take the young child 
and his mother, and go into the land of Is- 
rael : for they are dead which sought the 
young child's life. 

21 And he arose, and took the young child 



Revised Version. 

19 But when Herod was dead, behold, an 
angel of the Lord appeareth in a dream 

20 to Joseph in Egypt, saying, Arise and 
take the young child and his mother, and 
go into the land of Israel: for they are 
dead that sought the young child's life. 

21 And he arose and took the young child 
and his mother, and came into the land 



and his mother, and came into the land of j 22 of Israel. But when he heard that A rche- 
Israel. iaus was reigning over Judsea in the room 

22 But when he heard that Archelaus did of his father Herod, he was afraid to go 
reign in Judea in the room of his father | thithei ; and being warned of God in a 
Herod, he was afraid to go thither: not with- j dream, he withdrew into the parts of Gali- 

tanding, being warned of God in a dream, j 2. r ; he, and came and dwelt in a city called 
he turned aside into the parts of Galilee : Nazareth : that it might he fulfilled which 

23 And he came and dwelt in a city called was spoken through the prophets, that he 
Nazareth: that it might be fulfilled which i should be called a Nazareue. 

was spoken by the prophets, He shall be ! 
called a Nazarene. I 



40 A COMMENTARY ON THE GOSPEL OF MATTHEW. [Matt. 2. 

ceeded his father as ruler of Judaea, not with the title of king, but as eth- 
narch. These were the sons of Malthace, Herod's fourth wife. 3. Herod 
Philip, who lived in private life, Mark 6 : 17. 4. Herod Philip II., tetrarch 
of Iturea, Luke 3 : 1. Two other sons Herod ordered to be slain. Archelaus 
was as treacherous and cruel as his father. About nine years later he was 
deposed and banished to Gaul. Herod Antipas ruled in Galilee, and was 
regarded as milder in temper, but voluptuous and reckless in character. At 
this time he was probably in Rome. So Joseph again in perplexity " was 
divinely instructed," for so the Greek for "warned of God" literally means. 
It is the same term used in respect to the wise men in v. 12. Thus instructed 
" he withdrew into the parts of Galilee," R. V., where he would be more 
secluded and the child better shielded from envious rulers. Moreover, his 
removal to Nazareth was a fulfillment of prophecy, and not any peculiar 
mode of life. It was the place that gave him the title. And Matthew 
points again to the title "Nazarene" as a fulfillment of prophecy. It seems 
to be the substance of several predictions. The reference was no doubt well 
understood at the time Matthew wrote, but is not clear to our times. Some 
think the reference is to a lost prophecy ; but this is not very probable. 
The Hebrew word for "branch" or "shrub" is netzer; and in Isa. 11:1, 
Christ is referred to as Netzer, the " branch." Some suppose that the name 
Nazareth signifies " a place of shrubs," from the same Hebrew stem. Here 
then there would be a play on the words, referring to the town and to the 
person as a " branch " or shrub. This view is as old as Jerome. Others 
suppose that the title comes from a word that means " to watch " ; and as 
Nazareth is upon hills, suited for watching, so Jesus was the " watched " or 
guarded one. But this is not easily fitted to any prophecy. The low- 
liness or humble character of Jesus and of the town is the chief thought. 
This region was not under the rule of Archelaus, but of another son of 
Herod. 

Of the childhood of Jesus after the return to Nazareth we have this brief 
note only : " And the child grew, and waxed strong, filled with wisdom : and 
the grace of God was upon him :" Luke 2 : 40, R. V. Then of his boyhood 
only one incident is given : that of a visit to the passover at Jerusalem when 
he was twelve years old. Then eighteen years are hidden, as the previous 
twelve years were, under a single statement of about a dozen words : " And 
Jesus advanced in wisdom and stature, and in favour with God and men," 
Luke 2 : 52. From Hebrew history and rabbinic literature we know how 
Jewish boys of that period usually spent their time. It is natural, and per- 
haps right, to infer that Jesus spent his boyhood similar to those of his age 
in the better class of humble Hebrew homes. He was early taught by both 
parents in the law of Moses, as was Timothy, 2 Tim. 3 : 15. The rabbins 
required that a child should begin to learn the law by heart at five years old. 
At twelve or thirteen years of age he became a " son of the law." This is 
all we know of the childhood and youth of Jesus. 

Suggestive Applications. — 1. The aim of Matthew is to show that 
Jesus fulfilled prophecy, and hence was the true Messiah. 2. Every event 



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Matt. 3 : 1, 2. 



JOHN'S MINISTRY AND BAPTISM. 



41 



in the life of Jesus fulfilled God's gracious purpose ; so ought every event in 
our lives. 3. Parents and guardians should take children away from evil 
men and their influences. 4. The world is hostile to Christ. 5. Those who 
try to deceive others may themselves be the victims of their own plots. 

Chap. III. John's Ministry and Baptism, vs. 1-12. Compare Mark 

1 : 1-8 and Luke 3 : 1-18. 
Wilderness of Judea, a.d. 26, 27. 

The ministry of John lasted about a year and a half; the events in this 
chapter took place probably in the summer and autumn of a.d. 26. Matthew 
now leaps over nearly thirty years in the life of Jesus. Luke mentions only 
one incident, the visit to Jerusalem, in this period. Archelaus had been de- 
posed and banished ; and Quirinius (Cyrenius), as ruler of Syria, was given 
the rule over Judea and Samaria. The subordinate officer in Judea was the 
" governor " ; Pontius Pilate, the sixth in order of these procurators or gov- 
ernors, being appointed in a.d. 26. Herod Antipas still ruled in Galilee and 
Persea, and Herod Philip II. in Iturea. Augustus Csesar died in a.d. 14, 
and Tiberius ruled as despotic emperor of Rome, a.d. 14-37. The learned 
Philo was, at this period, a mere boy in the schools of Alexandria. 

Matthew, pursuing his purpose to prove that Jesus was the Messiah, now 
relates the ministry of John, the second Elijah, foretold by Malachi, and 
John's testimony to Jesus. In this chapter John the Baptist is described, 
vs. 1-4 ; his preaching, vs. 5-10 ; his announcement and baptism of Jesus, 
vs. 11-17. In his boyhood we may believe that Jesus was industrious, work- 
ing at the carpenter's trade ; and that he gained such scriptural and moral 
education as a Jewish boy of the humbler class usually received. He knew 
the ancient Hebrew, for he quotes it ; and must have known the Aramaic, 
then spoken by the Jews ; and no doubt learned the Greek, in which the Old 
Testament had been current for two centuries. 

1. John the Baptist, preaching] In that long period, or, as the Gos- 
pel writer says, " in those days," while Jesus was living at Nazareth, John 
the Baptizer " comes forward," crying in the wilderness of Judea. Luke 
gives an account of John's birth. His Hebrew name, Johanan, means 
" Jehovah is gracious." John's preaching was like that of a herald crying, 
when he makes a public proclamation ; it was not " preaching " as we under- 
stand that word now. The "wilderness of Judea" was a thinly-settled 
region of open country, southeast from Jerusalem, on the west side of the 
Dead Sea, and extending to the Jordan. It was not a desert, nor a densely- 
wooded tract, such as we sometimes mean by a wilderness. 

2. Repent . . . the kingdom of heaven is at hand] This was the 
burden of John's proclamation, " repent." The Greek word here used by 



Common Version. 

CHAP. III. — In those days came John the 
Baptist, preaching in the wilderness of 
Judea, 

2 And saying, Repent ye : for the kingdom 
of heaven is at hand. 



Revised Version. 

3 And in those days cometh John the 

Baptist, preaching in the wilderness of 

2 Judaea, saying, Repent ye ; for the king- 



42 



A COMMENTARY ON THE GOSPEL OF MATTHEW. [Matt. 3: 3. 



Matthew means literally "to think differently after" looking at the facts; a 
change of mind, of conduct and of life. In relating the remorse of Judas, 
Matt. 27 : 3, " repented himself" represents another Greek word. The Greek 
word iieravoeu has been variously translated. WyclifTe and the Rheims ver- 
sions read " do penance," following the Latin Vulgate. Luther's is nearly 
the same. The old Syriac means " turn ye," and the Dutch versions are the 
same. The latter are the better renderings. It was an accenting of the Old 
Testament call, "turn ye" "with all your heart," Joel 2 : 12. This call was 
now repeated with intense force : return to God ; think again ; take a new 
view, a re-view ; turn back ! It meant more than reformation, more than an 
outward offering, gift or worship. It had the force of the old proverb, " to 
obey is better than sacrifice," 1 Sam. 15 : 22. " Do penance" is putting sac- 
rifice in the place of obedience, which Jehovah condemned under the law 
and rejects under the new covenant of grace. The heart must be changed, 
made anew, and turn to God. This turning is in the New Testament idea 
of repent. 

The reason for the call to repent was, the "kingdom of the heavens" (for 
the word is plural, a Hebraism) is nigh. The Messiah you have so long 
expected is now come. The "kingdom of heaven" is a favorite expression 
with Matthew, and with him only of New Testament writers ; he uses it 
thirty- three times. In Mark and Luke the favorite phrase is " the kingdom 
of God." Though these expressions would not be obvious in their meaning 
to Gentile readers they would be very forcible to Hebrews, for whom Matthew 
was writing. To avoid any misapprehension he declares that John the Bap- 
tist fulfilled the prophecy through Isaiah of the voice crying in the wilderness, 
" make ready the way of the Lord," " make his paths straight," R. V. Isa. 
40 : 3.* When any conqueror or great man journeyed through the land he 
sent a herald to announce his coming, and to mend the road and prepare it 
suitably so that there should be no interruption in his journey. The Oriental 
rarely makes a road unless compelled to do so. If a rock falls across a path 
even, or if a bridge breaks, no one removes the rock or replaces the bridge. 
The traveller of the East simply goes around the obstacle or fords the stream. 
There are few great roads, and one railway, in Syria. The country is 
conspicuous for the absence of good carriage roads. The common people 
journey on mules, camels or horses, or go on foot. When a great man comes 
there must of necessity, therefore, be a general repair of roads, paths and 
bridges. This requires an order from some public officer. Even when the 



Common Version. 

3 For this is he that was spoken of by the 
prophet Esaias, saying, The voice of one cry- 
ing in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of 
the Lord, make his paths straight. 



Revised Version. 

dom of heaven is at hand. For this is he 
that was spoken of through Isaiah the 
prophet, saying, 

The voice of one crying in the wilder- 
ness, 

Make ye ready the way of the Lor J, 

Make his paths straight. 



* The old punctuation is after "wilderness," but the parallelism seems better to punc- 
tuate, as in the Revision of Isa. 40:3, "The voice of one that crieth, Prepare ye in the 
wilderness the way of the Lord." 



Matt. 3 : 4, 5.] JOHN'S MINISTRY AND BAPTISM. 43 

cavalcade is to go on horses or mules, the paths require to be cleared and 
the bridges repaired and strengthened. 

4. John had his raiment, etc.] The hair of camels is long and strong 
of fibre, well suited for weaving into garments. The Arabs make their tents 
of goat's hair. The wild Arab sheikh now wears a dress much like that of 
John. The " aba or outer cloak," says Dr. Post, " is usually of goat's hair, 
but may well be of camel's wool. The girdle is a rope of leathern thongs 
or twisted hair. Around the head is a kejjiyeh or turban of close texture, to 
keep out the sun, and fastened by a hair cord around the forehead. The feet 
are bare, or shod with coarse, untanned leathern boots. Such a figure, Avith 
the gaunt aspect, dark flashing eye, and ascetic diet and habits, will always 
have a powerful influence on the human mind." The locusts were the 
" grasshoppers" of the East, still eaten in that land, and allowed as food by 
the law, Lev. 11 : 22. The carob pods of the so-called locust tree are not 
found in the wilderness of Judea, though they are in some parts of Syria, 
and are sometimes eaten by the poor. Some suppose that these carob pods 
were John's food, and the monks of Palestine now call them " St. John's 
bread." But the Greek word designates an animal, not a vegetable. Locusts 
are a common food for the poor of the East, according to Burckhardt, Thom- 
son and Van Lennep. They are still eaten by the Bedawin of Arabia and 
Syria, who throw them into boiling water well salted. After cooking they 
are dried, and eaten after frying in butter and mixed with honey. Some- 
times they are ground and mixed with flour, and eaten with milk of the 
camel or goat, or with honey. Van Lennep speaks of such food as the 
habitual fare of those who lead a life of isolation and poverty. The Mosaic 
law allowed the Hebrews to eat four kinds of locusts, Lev. 11 : 22. . The wild 
honey may have been that made by bees, which is still found in the country, 
or it may have been a sweet gum, sometimes called honey, which is also sold 
for food in Mardin. It is found in the oak, the tamarisk and other trees of 
the East, and occasionally seen in the markets. The wild honey that was 
so abundant in olden time, however, causing it to be counted a " land flow- 
ing with milk and honey," and which is said to have flowed from hollow 
trees and rocks, is not now so abundant. 

•">. Jerusalem, and all Judea] John's manner and message aroused 
men. His fame spread to Jerusalem, to all parts of Judea, and to the ad- 
jacent region along the Jordan. Thence crowds kept coming ; he continued 
to baptize those who confessed their sins. His act of baptism was under- 
stood to imply consecration, a forsaking of sin. and a desire to be cleansed 
from it. Washing, as a ceremonial form of purification, was known to the 
Jews. It is more likely that John's baptism was thought to have a similar 



Common Version. 

1 Ami the same John had his raiment of 
camel's hair, and a leathern girdle about his 



Revised Version. 

4 Now John himself had his raiment of 
camel's hair, and a leathern girdle about 



■ins; and his meat was locusts and wild his loins; and his food was locusts and 

honey. 5 wild honey. Then went out unto him Je- 

") Then went out to him Jerusalem, and rusalem. and all Judaea, and all the region 

all Judea, and all the region round about 6 round about Jordan ; and they were bap- 
Jordan, ' 



44 A COMMENTARY ON THE GOSPEL OF MATTHEW. [Matt. 3 : 6, 7. 

significance, than that it was referred to the baptism of Jewish proselytes, 
since it is probable the latter custom was introduced at a later date. John's 
baptism was evidently regarded as of divine authority, from Christ's ques- 
tion : " The baptism of John ; whence was it ? from heaven, or of men ?" 
Matt. 21 : 25. Yet it was different from Christian baptism, since converts 
who had received John's baptism were re-baptized " in the name of the Lord 
Jesus." Acts 19 : 4, 5. John's was a baptism signifying repentance, and a 
belief in the coming Messiah ; see v. 11. 

7. the Pharisees and Sadducees] These were the two leading parties 
among the Jews. 1. The Pharisees were the most noted and powerful. 
Their name in Hebrew means separated. Their origin is obscure. During 
the rule of the Maccabees and Hyrcanus, they appear in the second century 
before Christ. They became very powerful during the reign of Herod the 
Great. They held that traditions from Moses had the same authority as 
written law. They also believed in the immortality of the soul, future re- 
wards and punishments, divine providence, and the free will of man, and em- 
phasized the traditional more than the sacrificial part of the law. They were 
the strict party, Jewish in politics and orthodox in religion. 2. The Sad- 
ducees (perhaps from Zadok) were opposed to the Pharisees, rejecting the 
above doctrines, but accepting the teaching of Moses in the written law. 
They denied the future life and the existence of angels or spirits. They 
were the "liberal" or "rationalistic" party in the Jewish nation. These 
parties, though bitterly opposed to each other, united in opposing Christ. 
3. A third party, the Essenes, were the mystics, ascetics and the humanita- 
rians of that day. They were not numerous, lived in retired communities, 
and had only a limited influence in the nation. Josephus places the origin 
of the Pharisees and Sadducees in the time of Jonathan successor to Judas 
Maccabee (160-140 B.C.). From 1 Mace. 2 : 42; 7 : 13, and 2 Mace. 14 : 6, 
some infer that the Pharisees were first called Chasidim, "the pious" ones, 
and that the Sadducees called themselves Tzaddiquin, "the righteous" ones. 
The doctrines of the " Essenes" are traced usually to a Persian origin. They 
were "outsiders," so their name is interpreted. Neither the Sadducees nor 
Essenes have any writings remaining to our times ; all that we know of them 
is from the writings by those of other sects. 

generation of vipers] " Ye offspring " or brood of vipers was a stinging 
reproof of these leading religionists of the Jews. Why vipers ? The fleeing 
Pharisees and their poisonous teaching were like skulking vipers. The viper 
is a poisonous snake, of small size, gives no warning rattle, and in color 
closely resembles the rocks, or ground where it lies. The harvest stubble is 
set on fire, to prepare for winter sowing. The fire drives the lurking ser- 



Common Version. 

6 And were baptized of him in Jordan, 
confessing their sins. 

7 If But when he saw many of the Pharisees 
and Sadducees come to his baptism, he said 
unto them, O generation of vipers, who hath 



Revised Version. 
tized of him in the river Jordan, eonfess- 
7 ing their sins. But when he saw many 
of the Pharisees and Sadducees coming 
*to his baptism, he said unto them, Ye 
offspring of vipers, who warned you to flee 



warned you to flee from the wrath to come? l 8 from the wrath to come? Bring forth 

1 Or, for baptism 



Matt. 3 : 8-11.] 



JOHN'S MINISTRY AND BAPTISM. 



45 



pents from their hiding holes. The Baptist sees the likeness of these vipers 
to Pharisees fleeing from the " wrath to come." The teachings of the Phar- 
isees and Sadducees were as deadly as the poison of vipers. There may be an 
allusion to them as the true children of that old serpent of Genesis, the devil. 
who hath warned you] John exposes their sly, scoffing and treacherous 
character by his question, " Who hath secretly pointed you to flee from com- 
ing wrath ?" As if they had been privately warned, and, without confession 
of sin, were thinking to slip away from coming wrath so slyly that God and 
his messenger would not see them. But they must make confession, and 
r uore, they must show some fruit of true repentance. 

9. We have Abraham] The boast of the Pharisees was that they were 
Abraham's children, and therefore sure of God's favor. There is an old 
Jewish legend that Abraham sat guard at the gate of hell, and did not allow 
any of his circumcised children to enter there. This illustrates the proud 
feeling of the Pharisees and Sadducees. To rely upon inherited religion is 
the tendency of Asiatics, and they make little of personal piety. Pointing to 
the stones near the Jordan, John declared that God could raise from these 
stones children to Abraham, to fulfill his promise. So their boasted claim 
would not save these self-righteous scoffers. They must repent or the axe 
would fall. 

10. now . . • the axe . . . laid] In the East this figure was well 
understood and forcible. In Palestine wood is very scarce. A fruitless tree 
is cut, not at the stump, as with us, but from the roots. The Oriental puts 
down his axe while he takes off his loose garments, belts up his under one, 
and bares his arm, for chopping the tree. The Syriac rightly omits " good." 
It is the " fruitless " tree that is useless. 

11. with the Holy Ghost, and with Are] John declares his water 
baptism is a sign of repentance. The "you" of this verse does not refer to 
the Pharisees, but to the multitude. One was then coming after him who 
was stronger and so much greater that John did not count himself worthy 
to do the most menial service to this mighty Master. In the East the shoes 
are removed on entering the house. The lowest servant of the rich unlooses 
and takes off his master's shoes. The shoes now worn in the East are san- 
dals, or more properly slippers, with no heel band, a mere sole with a pocket 



Common Version. 

8 Bring forth therefore fruits meet for 
repentance : 

9 And think not to say within yourselves, 
We have Abraham to our father : for I say 
unto you, that God is able of these stones to 
raise up children unto Abraham. 

10 And now also the axe is laid unto the 
root of the trees : therefore every tree which 
bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, 
and cast into the fire. 

11 I indeed baptize you with water unto 
repentance : but he that cometh after me is 
mightier than I, whose shoes I am not wor- 
thy to bear : he shall baptize you with the 
Holy Ghost, and with fire : 

1 Or, your repentance 



Revised Version. 

therefore fruit worthy of l repentance : 
9 and think not to say within yourselves, 
We have Abraham to our father: for I 
say unto you, that God is able of these 
stones to raise up children unto Abraham. 

10 And even now the axe lieth at the root of 
the trees : every tree therefore that bring- 
eth not forth good fruit is hewn down, 

11 and cast into the fire. I indeed baptize 
you 2 in water unto repentance: but he 
that cometh after me is mightier than I, 
whose shoes I am not 3 worthy to bear : 
he shall baptize you 2 in the Holy Spirit 



2 Or, with 3 Gr. sufficient 



46 



A COMMENTARY ON THE GOSPEL OF MATTHEW. [Matt. 3 : 12. 



for the toes. In comparison with the coming One, John was unworthy to 
do this lowest servile work of bearing his shoes. He, the Christ, "shall 
baptize you in the Holy Spirit and in fire." That is, while John calls them to 
repent, and can only baptize them in water as a sign of repentance, Christ 
would give them a baptism in the Holy Spirit and fire ; a true purification 
from sin, and a true gift of the spirit and fire of divine life. 

12, purge his floor, and gather his wheat] Or, "whose fan is in 
his hand, and he will throughly cleanse [cleanse through and through] his 
threshingfloor," R. V. The threshing-floor in the East is usually on some 
hill. It is a level, circular spot near some village, sometimes within its 
limits. The ground is beaten hard, clay often laid over it and rolled down, 
and often bakes hard in the heat of the sun. The size of the floor depends 
upon the number of persons that are expected to use it, or upon the heaps 
of grain that must be threshed at one time. The "garner" or "granary" is 
not usually near the threshing-floor. The "floor" must be upon some ele- 
vated spot to be exposed to the wind, to facilitate the separation of the grain 
from the straw and chaff. Hence most of these floors noticed by modern 
travellers in the East are upon the top or side of the hill. Dr. Robinson 
found five such floors near the site of old Jericho, to which the grain was 
brought, and trodden out by oxen, cows and young cattle arranged five 
abreast and driven around in a circle or in every direction over the floor, 
treading out the grain. Sometimes a sledge is drawn by the cattle, which 
aids in breaking up the straw and freeing the grain from the ears. The 
sheaves of grain were brought to the threshing-floor on donkeys, asses, and 
rarely on camels. The donkeys were often so covered by the load that they 
could not be seen, and appeared like a mass of sheaves moving along by its 
own momentum. The floors were always under the open sky, for in the har- 
vest season no rain falls nor showers come ; so the ground is hard and dry. 
The fan is a broad winnowing-fork, by which the straw and grain, that has 
been separated by the drag or threshing instrument drawn over it, can be 
tossed into the air. The wind blows aside the chaff and the fine straw, while 
the wheat falls back on the hard beaten ground or floor. "Thoroughly 
purge " means a complete separation of wheat from chaff: of the righteous 
from the wicked. The garner, in Syria, is not a barn, but a funnel-shaped 
bin, usually in the farmer's house. It is made of basket-work, plastered 
inside and outside with mud. The grain is poured in at the top, and drawn 
out from a small opening at the bottom. The wheat is gathered ; even the 
straw is saved and fed to the cattle. Only the useless chaff is burned by the 
poor Syrian peasant : so the unrepentant will Christ destroy as chaff, and with 
" unquenchable (asbestos) fire." It is not the same as the fire of v. 11, in which 
his people are baptized as at the day of Pentecost, but the fire of his judgment. 



Common Version. 

12 Whose fan is in his hand, and he will 
thoroughly purge his floor, and gather his 
wheat into the garner : but he will burn up 
the chaff with unquenchable fire. 



Revised Version. 

12 and in fire: whose fan is in his hand, and 
he will throughly cleanse his threshing- 
floor ; and he will gather his wheat into 
the garner, but the chaff he will burn up 
with unquenchable fire. 



Matt. 3 : 13-15.] 



JOHN'S BAPTISM OF JESUS. 



47 



John's Baptism of Jesus, vs. 13-17. Compare Mark 1 : 9-11 ; Luke 3 : 

21-23. 
The Jordan, a.d. 26, 27. 

13. Then cometh Jesus . . . unto John, to be baptized] During 
John's mission, and probably in the autumn or winter of a.d. 26, Jesus came 
from Nazareth in Galilee to be baptized by John. Here several difficult 
questions spring up: 1. Why was Jesus baptized by John? He was sin- 
less, and did not need baptism as a sign of confession or of forsaking sin. 
The question is an old one ; something like it seems to have troubled John 
himself, and led him to hesitate, a fact told us by Matthew only. 2. Why 
did John object? He seems to say, " I knew him not," John 1 : 33, before 
his baptism. Dr. John Hall suggests that John may have meant, " There 
has been no collusion, no understanding between us," but this is an unusual 
use of " knew" or " recognize." He did know that the Messiah was soon to 
be manifested : he was looking for him. In the innocent majesty of this new 
presence he may have had a feeling that here was the expected One. Being 
his cousin, and their mothers having long before met and rejoiced over the 
angelic revelations to each, it is not unlikely that John would have some 
special expectations concerning Jesus, though not yet divinely assured that 
he was the Messiah. This brings us to the answer which Jesus himself gives 
to John for his baptism. 

15. thus it becometh us to fulfil all righteousness] This answer 
has been variously explained. It has been supposed to mean — (1) A recog- 
nition of John in his official mission ; (2) A renouncing of past employment 
and entering upon his Messianic mission ; (3) A compliance with Jewish 
law ; (4) Jesus' human nature was in stages of growth ; the baptism 
marked the dawn of consciousness in him; (5) That by it he identi- 
fied himself more closely with his people. Geikie holds that John's 
baptism was a part of God's command or " righteousness." His description 
of Jesus, as he appeared to John, is graphic and rhetorical, but wholly 
founded on conjecture. John's baptism is not found in the Mosaic law. No 
definite account of its appointment by God is recorded. Though no divine 
command is noted, it was doubtless of divine authority, as was the whole 
mission of John. Thus Jesus would not merely make himself one with his 
people by this act ; and mark his entrance upon his holy mission : he would 
also fulfill all that was right or pleasing in God's sight, and make himself a 
servant in submitting to this new sign of the new dispensation. 



Common Version. 

13 ^ Then cometh Jesus from Galilee to 
Jordan unto John, to be baptized of him. 

14 But John forbade him, saying, I have 
need to be baptized of thee, and comest thou 
to me? 

15 And Jesus answering said unto him, 
Suffer it to be so now : for thus it becometh 
us to fulfil all righteousness. Then he suf- 
fered him. 



Revised Vhrsion. 

13 Then cometh Jesus from Galilee to the 
Jordan unto John, to be baptized of him. 

14 But John would have hindered him, say- 
ing, I have need to be baptized of thee, 

15 and comest thou to me ? But Jesus an- 
swering said unto him, Suffer l it now : for 
thus it becometh us to fulfil all right- 



1 Or, me 



48 A COMMENTARY ON THE GOSPEL OF MATTHEW. [Matt. 3:16, 17. 

16. the heavens were opened] Having been baptized, Jesus went up 
immediately from the water, and behold the heavens were opened to him, 
and he saw the Spirit of God coming down as a dove, and coming upon him. 
As a dove, may mean the manner, or the shape, in which the Spirit descended. 
The latter is more in harmony with Eastern thought. The dove is a fit em- 
blem of the harmless and peaceful character of Jesus. 

17. This is my beloved Son] As the Spirit descended, behold, a voice 
out of the heavens, saying, This is my Son, the beloved, in whom I am well 
pleased. Here was triple testimony to the character of his mission : (1) The 
heavens were opened (" torn open" or " rent," Mark says) ; (2) The Spirit, in 
visible form like a dove, came upon him ; (3) A voice from heaven owned 
his wonderful mission. Matthew's account implies that all this was revealed 
to Jesus himself, and Mark and Luke declare that the voice spoke to him ; 
but John says that he also saw the Spirit descend upon Jesus, John 1 : 33, 34. 
Neither of these accounts excludes or is inconsistent with the other. If 
Jesus saw and heard, that does not imply that John failed to see and hear. 

On the mode of baptism there has been much controversy. The Baptists 
hold that it should be administered to believers only on profession of Christ, 
and that immersion is the only true mode of baptism. Pedobaptists hold 
that it may be administered to adult believers and to their children ; and that 
sprinkling, pouring or immersion, in the name of the Trinity, is valid bap- 
tism. In the Greek Church baptism is by immersion three times ; in the Ro- 
man Church by sprinkling or pouring. " The Greek Catholics in Syria," says 
Dr. Post of Beirut, " the Armenians and the Armenian Catholics baptize by im- 
mersion. All the Oriental sects, however, baptize children as well as adults." 

The so-called Apostolic Constitutions says nothing about the mode of bap- 
tism. The seventh chapter of the Didache, or " Teaching of the Twelve," 
which many place between 120 and 160 a.d., says, " Now concerning baptism, 
thus baptize : having spoken all these things, baptize into the name of the 
Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, in living [running ?] water. 
But if thou hast not living water, baptize in other water ; and if thou canst 
not in cold, then in warm. But if both [neither] thou hast not, pour water 
upon the head thrice, into the name of the Father and Son and Holy Spirit. 
And before baptism let the baptizer and the baptized fast, and whatever 
others can. The baptized thou shalt command to fast for two or three days 
before." It will be observed that while this gives some latitude in cases of 
necessity, the real question respecting the mode it does not clearly settle. 



Common Version. 

16 And Jesus, when he was baptized, went 
up straightway out of the water: and, lo, 
the heavens were opened unto him, and he 
saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove, 
and lighting upon him : 

17 And lo a voice from heaven, saying, 
This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well 
pleased. 

1 Some ancient authorities omit unto him. 2 Or, This is my Son ; my beloved in whom lam 
well pleased. See ch. 12 : 18. 



Revised Version. 

16 eousness. Then he suffereth him. And 
Jesus, when he was baptized, went up 
straightway from the water : and lo, the 
heavens were opened 1 unto him, and he 
saw the Spirit of God descending as a dove, 

17 and coming upon him ; and lo, a voice 
out of the heavens, saying, 2 This is my 
beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased. 



Matt. 4.] THE TEMPTATION OF JESUS. 49 

While Christians continue to differ upon this subject, few evangelical Chris- 
tians would now insist that one particular mode was absolutely necessary to 
salvation. Whoever sincerely believes in Christ, and is baptized according 
to the mode that he conscientiously believes to be taught by Scriptures, will 
be saved. And if he cannot be baptized, true faith in Christ alone wni save 
him. 

Suggestive Applications. — 1. God has his workmen in training for his 
work, though long unknown to the world. 2. Repent, for the kingdom of 
heaven is yet at hand. 3. A teacher from God will be bold and plain in his 
work. 4. Self-righteous scoffers are a generation of vipers; cunning, deceit- 
ful, true children of the old serpent, the devil. 5. Public confession of sin 
should be accompanied by fruits of repentance. 6. Inherited religion, with- 
out personal piety and faith in Christ, will not save us. 7. There is a " fire" 
of divine life in believers; there is an "unquenchable fire" for the wicked. 
8. Christ gives the baptism of the Spirit to his people. 9. John felt his un- 
worthiness ; the greatest saints have a similar sense of their unworthiness 
before God. 10. Heaven is open to Christ; he opens heaven for us. 11. The 
heavens testify to the Son of God. 

Chap. IV. The Temptation of Jesus, vs. 1-11. Compare Mark 1 : 12, 

13 and Luke 4 : 1-13. 

Wilderness op Jud^ia, a.d. 27. 

Analysis. — Jesus was led into the wilderness ; fasted forty days, when he 
was tempted of the devil, vs. 1-10 ; he resisted the temptations, and was 
strengthened by angels, v. 11 ; he hears that John is cast into prison ; leaves 
Nazareth to dwell in Capernaum, vs. 12-16 ; preaches repentance, calls four 
disciples — Peter, Andrew, James and John — and teaches and heals the people 
through Galilee, vs. 17-25. 

The first Adam had a conflict with the tempter, and was overcome ; Christ, 
the second Adam, had a similar conflict, and was victorious. Neither of the 
evangelists specifies the precise order of the temptations, nor do they give any 
details. Luke places the temptation of the kingdoms of this world from the 
top of the high mountain, before that on the pinnacle of the temple at Jeru- 
salem. Mark strikingly remarks of Jesus, " he was with the wild beasts," 
Mark 1 : 13, R. V. 

Of the character of the temptation, it is clear that it was not a dream nor 
a vision, but an actual scene. The devil is represented as a real personal 
being, and he really came to Jesus, but in precisely what form the Scriptures 
do not say. These were not the only temptations of Jesus, for he says to his 
disciples, " Ye are they which have continued with me in my temptations," 
Luke 22 : 28. 

The temptations in the wilderness comprehend all forms of temptations to 

humanity, we may well believe. They appealed to the threefold nature or 

man — to his physical, his mental and spiritual natures. The temptation to 

Adam and Eve came through their appetites, their physical nature, as appears 

4 



50 



A COMMENTARY ON THE GOSPEL OF MATTHEW. [Matt. 4:1,2. 



from the narrative in Genesis. One form of the temptation to Jesus was 
through hunger: an appeal to satisfy his appetites. Another was through 
ambition for power: to satisfy the mental aspirations of man. A third was 
apparently to the loftier spiritual aspirations: to spiritual pride, touching 
the spiritual nature of man. The apostle John has also given three forms, 
"the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the vainglory of life," 1 
John 2 : 16, K. V. Milton in Paradise Regained gives a sublime poetic de- 
scription of these terrible conflicts with Satan, placing that in Jerusalem last, 
as the highest proof of the divine character of Jesus. Having thus been 
" in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin," Jesus is able to sym- 
pathize with and to succor all who are tempted. For Jesus is " not a high 
priest that cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities," having 
himself suffered " being tempted." Heb. 4 : 15 ; 2 : 18. 

1. to be tempted of the devil] The mission of the Messiah was to 
save men, and to destroy the works of the devil. As he began his Messianic 
labors, therefore, his first work was a conflict with the great tempter, the 
devil. The reason for this trial or conflict is elsewhere given. Having been 
himself tempted, he is able to succor them that are tempted. See Heb. 2 : 
18 ; 4 : 15. He was led into the wilderness by the Holy Spirit for this pur- 
pose. So Philip was led by the Spirit. Acts 8 : 29, 39. It was an influence 
distinct from his will, yet not opposed to it, which led him. The several 
gospel accounts of this strange and awful conflict tell us of an actual histor- 
ical event. They cannot be made to signify anything less without violently 
wresting their language from its most obvious meaning. The narrative is 
too clearly historical to give any place to the conjecture that it might have 
been a parable, a vision, or a dramatic picture. It is the clearest, simplest 
account of a real conflict with a spiritual personal tempter, Satan. The 
Scripture here, as uniformly elsewhere, assumes the devil to be a personal 
evil spirit. This does not make it necessary, however, to adopt the bald, 
medieval conception that the devil appeared to Jesus with horns, darts, hoofs, 
and wings, belching fire, and that, flying, he bore Jesus through the air to 
the pinnacle of the temple and back again to the mountain. Jesus was 
tempted, tested for thirty years, all his life as manhood is tempted ; tempta- 
tions here noted were a culmination. The devil appealed to him through his 
human nature, and used the human powers of Jesus as a medium to forward the 
temptation. How Christ, the sinless one, could be tempted is as hard for us 
to understand as to comprehend how he could become man. We reverently 
accept the fact, though the mode may be a mystery to us. 

2. when he had fasted] Jesus having fasted forty days and forty 
nights, as Moses and Elijah had, Ex. 34 : 28 ; 1 Kings 19 : 8 ; at the end of 
this period he felt the fierceness of hunger. This fast was perhaps a total 



Common Version. 

CHAP. IV.— Then was Jesus led up of the 
Spirit into the wilderness to he tempted 
of the devil. 

2 And when he had fasted forty days and 
forty nights, he was afterward a hungered. 



Revised Version. 

Then was Jesus led up of the Spirit 
into the wilderness to be tempted of the 
devil. And when he had fasted forty days 
and forty nights, he afterward hungered. 



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Matt. 4 : 3-o.j TEMPTATION OF JESUS. 51 



abstinence from ordinary food, for Luke says, " he did eat nothing/' though 
this language does not necessarily mean entire abstinence any more than 
when Jesus himself said, "John came neither eating nor drinking," Matt. 
11 : 18, by which Jesus meant to contrast John's exceedingly spare diet with 
his own. So eating nothing may mean no ordinary meal, but keeping a fast 
for the whole period. Matthew evidently implies that he did not feel the 
pangs of hunger until the close of the forty days' fast. 

3. If thou be the Son of God] Three forms of temptation are described : 
two of them are introduced by this doubting piece of flattery ; If thou art 
the Son of God. The first clause of this verse does not mark the beginning 
of the temptation, as the common English version implies, but " the tempter 
having come, said to him, If thou art the Son of God, command that these 
stones become loaves." The first form of the temptation was to distrust God's 
providential care; it was to unbelief. Jesus was suffering from hunger. 
Satan suggests, if he is the Son of God, he can turn the stones, which bore 
some resemblance to the flat cakes or loaves of bread of the East, into real 
loaves, and thus satisfy his hunger. The aim of the temptation was not merely 
to lead Jesus to gratify taste, nor was it to give a vain display of miraculous 
power. It was, as the answer of Jesus implies, to bring about distrust of 
God's care for man. 

4. Man shall not live by bread alone] It is worth noting that Jesus 
overcame the tempter each time by referring him to the word of God. Deut. 
8:3. It is also specially noteworthy that each of the three times Jesus cites 
the words from Deuteronomy : the very book of the Old Testament against 
which certain critics now are directing their most destructive criticism. 
When our divine Lord quotes the book three times, in this most solemn and 
awful conflict with the tempter, and is victorious, we need not be disturbed 
by rationalistic attempts to discredit the deuteronomist's record. 

5. Then the devil taketh him up into the holy city] The main point 
in this the second form of the temptation was the opposite of that in the first. 
That was doubt, unbelief. Now it is presumption; presuming on God's power 
miraculously to interpose, and save him from being killed by rashly throw- 
ing himself from the wing of the temple. " Then " seems to mark the order 
of the events ; which here varies from Luke, who notes this scene last. 
Matthew's order is most natural, and the reply in v. 10 a most fitting end to 
the temptation. The holy city is Jerusalem ; the pinnacle or wing of the 
temple was probably at the southeast corner, where the wall is exceedingly 



Common Version. 



3 And when the tempter came to him, he 
said, If thou be the Son of God, command 
that these stones be made bread. 

4 But he answered and said, It is written, 
Man shall not live by bread alone, but by 
every word that proceedeth out of the 
mouth of God. 

5 Then the devil taketh him up into the 
holy city, and setteth him on a pinnacle of 
the temple, 

i Gr. loaves. a Gr. wing. 



Revised Version. 



3 And the tempter came aud said unto him, 
If thou art the Son of God, command 

4 that these stones become * bread. But he 
answered and said, It is written, Man 
shall not live by bread alone, but by every 
word that proceedeth out of the mouth 

5 of God. Then the devil taketh him into 
the holy city ; and he set him on the 2 pin- 



52 



A COMMENTARY ON THE GOSPEL OF MATTHEW. [Matt. 4 : 6-8. 



bigh above the Kedron valley, and the lofty columns, surmounted hy a roof, 
would add to its giddy height, and justify the language of Josephus: "The 
valley was very deep, and its bottom could not be seen if you looked from 
above into the depth; . . . the cloister stood upon that height, insomuch 
that if any one looked down from the top of the battlements he would be 
giddy." Antiq. xv. 11 : 5. 

6. And saith ... it is written, etc.] Satan quotes Scripture in a 
way to make it appear to serve his evil purposes. He here cites from the 
Hebrew of Ps. 91:11, 12. Though he omits a short clause, "in all thy 
ways," it is gratuitous to say that he had a design in the omission. The 
substance of the passage is given in the portion quoted, and Jesus does not 
charge him with misquotation. The evident object of the tempter in quot- 
ing it was to suggest the promise of God's preserving power ; and hence that 
it would be only a fair test of that promise for Jesus rashly to throw himself 
down. His miraculous preservation would at once attest his character as 
the Son of God to the multitudes about the temple ; so the devil assumes to 
argue. To suppose that Jesus was " taken to the holy city and set on the 
temple in thought" as some hold, is to take all the point and meaning out 
of this form of the temptation. To cast himself down "in thought" or in 
imagination would involve not the slightest bodily harm, and indeed would 
render the request wellnigh absurd. The devil is no fool ; his suggested 
temptations are not transparent absurdities ! Again Jesus replies by a text 
from Deut. 6 : 16, " Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God." Thou shalt 
not needlessly presume upon his promises or his power. All display of our 
faith in him, all reckless hazarding of our lives in the expectation that God 
will save us from harm, is sin. 

8. Again, the devil . . . slieweth him all the kingdoms] The third 
form of the temptation was to gain worldly power and glory ; it was an ap- 
peal to his ambition. The " exceeding high mountain " where the last 
temptation took place is not named in either gospel narrative. It might 
have been Olivet, Pisgah, the traditional mount of temptation Quarantana, 
or Hermon, which is the highest mountain in Palestine. The vision would 
be wide, and all the kingdoms of the world and the glory of them may have 
been made to appear by a voluntary or miraculous extension of his vision, 
or by a combination of the actual view with a verbal description of the 



Common Version. 

6 And saith unto him, If thou be the Son 
of God, cast thyself down : for it is written, 
He shall give his angels charge concerning 
thee : and in their hands they shall bear thee 
up, lest at any time thou dash thy foot 
against a stone. 

7 Jesus said unto him, It is written again, 
Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God. 

8 Again, the devil taketh him up into an 
exceeding high mountain, and sheweth him 
all the kingdoms of the world, and the glory 
of them ; 



Revised Version. 

6 nacle of the temple, and saith unto him, 
If thou art the Son of God, cast thyself 
down : for it is written, 

He shall give his angels charge con- 
cerning thee : 

And on their hands they shall bear 
thee up, 

Lest haply thou dash thy foot against 
a stone. 

7 Jesus said unto him, Again it is written, 
Thou shalt not try the Lord thy God. 

8 Again, the devil taketh him unto an ex- 
ceeding high mountain, and sheweth him 
all the kingdoms of the world, and the 



Matt. 4 : 9-11.] 



TEMPTATION OF JESUS. 



53 



powers and their greatness and glory, as J. A. Alexander suggests. Baffled 
in the two suggestions, to distrust and then to presume upon God's promise, 
the devil now takes a bold step. He seems to reason : this Jesus wishes to 
regain the rule over the world ; now I will offer it all to him ; give up all 
my title to it; only let him do me homage for the gift. It was a shrewd 
thought. It would look as though the arch-liar would let Christ establish 
his kingdom without the cross. But in reality it would be to own Satan as 
supreme rather than God. Wr'th just indignation Jesus resents the sugges- 
tion, and exclaims, Begone, Satan! Tyndale renders it "Avoyd, Satan." 
The Greek word is very expressive, literally, " Get under," as if he had 
said, "Get under where you belong." Instead of suggesting that I fall 
down and worship you, you owe me worship; for it is written, Thou slialt 
worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve. This is from 
the Greek version of Deut. 6 : 13. 

11. the devil leaveth . . . angels came] With the last bold assault 
Satan risked all and lost. He leaves the sorely -tried and suffering Son of 
God. He has exhausted his Satanic resources for this time, and retires to 
await another and, as he may hope, a more favorable time. And behold 
angels came and served Jesus, by providing food, no doubt, and by strength- 
ening him as afterward they did in the awful trial in Gethsemane. As the 
angels were personal beings, good spirits, and in this character appeared to 
Jesus, so the devil, as a personal being, the evil spirit, appeared to him, and 
tempted him. Both were actual historical occurrences. It is, however, no 
more necessary to assume that the devil took on a physical form or shape 
visible to the natural eye, than it is to hold that good angels always took 
such a form. And on the other hand, if it is supposed that the angels took 
a material form and appeared to the natural eye, there is no greater difficulty 
in supposing that the devil also appeared in a similar form, like an " angel 
of light," 

Suggestive Applications. — For a realistic and poetical picture of this 
scene, see Milton's Paradise Regained, book iv. 1. The temptation followed 
the descent of the Spirit : great trials may follow great blessings. 2. The 
soul, on coming into special communion with God, may expect a visit from 
Satan. 3. The devil has particular spite against those just setting out for 
God. 4. We should not expose ourselves to temptations or trials, but, when 
they come, submit to them in the fear of God. 5. Satan aims to have us dis- 
trust or disobey God. 6. Satan uses the wants, burdens, cares and afflictions 
of life, to discourage disciples and to lead them to doubt that they are true 



Common Version. 

9 And saith unto him, All these things 
will I give thee, if thou wilt fall down and 
worship me. 

10 Then saith Jesus unto him, Get thee 
hence, Satan: for it is written, Thou shall 
worship the Lord thy God, and him only 
shalt thou serve. 

11 Then the devil leaveth him, and, he- 
hold, angels came and ministered unto him. 



Revised Version. 

9 glory of them ; and he said unto him, All 
these things will I give thee, if thou wilt 

10 fall down and worship me. Then saith 
Jesus unto him, Get thee hence, Satan: 
for it is written, Thou shalt worship the 
Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou 

11 serve. Then the devil leaveth him ; and 
hehold, angels came and ministered unto 
him. 



54 A COMMENTARY ON THE GOSPEL OF MATTHEW. [Matt. 4 : 12, 13. 

disciples. 7. Meet the devil with Scripture. 8. The devil knows the Scrip- 
ture : so a man may have his head full of it, while his heart is full of hatred 
towards God. 9. We must not doubt God in trial. 10. The best of saints 
may be tempted to the worst of sins. 11. The devil is the enemy of saints, 
but he is a beaten enemy. 12. Though there is a world of malicious spirits 
fighting against believers, there is a world of holy angels engaged for them. 
13. Christ having been sorely tempted knows how to succor those that are 
tempted. 14, The threefold temptation a regular progression in evil : 
(1) appeal to satisfy hunger; (2) to love of sympathy and admiration; 
(3) to noble ambition perverted. The first called for a miracle, the second 
for an ostentatious miracle and was presumptuous, the third called for a 
blasphemous denial of God. The first was deceptive, the second plausible, 
the third audacious. Thus Satan deals with souls now. 

Galilean Ministry: Calling Disciples, vs. 12-25. Compare Mark 

1:14-20; Luke 5 : 1-11. 
Galilee, a.d. 28. 

Matthew now passes over nearly a year. Among the events omitted 
are the call of six disciples, the marriage at Cana, first cleansing of the 
temple, talk with Nicodemus, and with the woman at the well. See John 
1 : 35 to 4 : 42. He now narrates the Galilean ministry of Jesus, beginning 
with the spring of a.d. 28. 

Analysis. — John arrested ; Jesus goes to Galilee, v. 12; dwells at Caper- 
naum, vs. 13-16; begins his Galilean work, v. 17; calls four disciples, vs. 
18-22; teaches and heals in Galilee, vs. 23-25. 

12. heard that John] Jesus was teaching in Judea, where he spent 
most of the first year of his ministry. But having heard that John was 
arrested by Herod, Jesus went up into Galilee. Matthew marks the time of 
going to Galilee, without necessarily implying the reason of it. John im- 
plies that Jesus went into Galilee to avoid the plots of the Pharisees. John 
4 : 1-3. Had he feared that Herod would arrest him also as he had John, he 
would have stayed out of Galilee, for that was in Herod's jurisdiction, while 
Judea was under Pilate. It was not, therefore, to avoid Herod, but to avoid 
the Pharisees. 

13. he . . . dwelt in Capernaum] So having left Nazareth, where he 
was rejected, Luke 4 : 16-30, he dwelt in Capernaum, by the sea, in the bor- 
ders of Zebulun and Naphtali. Again, Matthew notes this fact to point out 
another fulfillment of prophecy, proving that Jesus was the Messiah. The 
exact site of Capernaum is disputed. It was on the northwest side of the 
Sea of Galilee, within five miles of where the Jordan enters the lake. The 



Common Version. 

12 f Now when Jesus had heard that John 

was cast into prison, he departed into Gali- 
lee ; 

13 And leaving Nazareth, he came and 
dwelt in Capernaum, which is upon the sea 
coast, in the borders of Zabulon and Neph- 
thalim : 



Revised Version. 

12 Now when he heard that John was de- 

18 livered up, he withdrew into Galilee; and 

leaving Nazareth, he came and dwelt in 

Capernaum, which is by the sea, in the 



Matt. 4 : 14-17. J GALILEAN MINISTRY : CALLING DISCIPLES. 



55 



two chief places urged as its site are Khan Minieh, about five miles south of t lie 
Jordan, where there is a small mound and few ruins, and Tel Hum, abont two 
and a half miles south of the Jordan, where the ruins are extensive and 
numerous, and appear to be more ancient than those at Minieh. Among the 
many basaltic stone pedestals, columns and pillars scattered about Tel Hum 
are also the ruins of an ancient Jewish synagogue, the lintel of a door with 
a figure of a pot of manna carved on it. One of the chief objections to Tel 
Hum as the site of Capernaum is, that no living water is now found on the 
spot, as some infer from Josephus that there was in Capernaum. But there 
is water near by. The objection to Khan Minieh is, that the few ruins and 
pottery so far found are too modern to belong to Capernaum, and the spot is 
too far from the Jordan and the sea to meet the needs of some statements 
of Josephus. Khan Minieh is supported, however, as the site by eminent 
scholars, as Robinson, Porter, Conder, Merrill and George Adam Smith, and 
others; Tel Hum has also equally famous support in Dr. J. Wilson, W. M. 
Thomson, Stanley (latterly), Sir Charles Wilson, Prof. Socin, Dr. SchaflT, 
Delitzsch, Hitter and others. The location of the site is a question quite 
evenly balanced between these two leading places, but tending toward Tel 
Hum. 

14-16. The prophecy fulfilled is found in Isa. 9 : 1, 2. It is a free quo- 
tation from the Hebrew, and in an explanatory form, to show its application 
more closely. Those portions of Palestine that were in contempt, that were 
in spiritual darkness, were the portion allotted to Zebulon and Naphtali, by 
the sea, beyond Jordan, Galilee of the nations. This would include all the 
region around the Sea of Galilee and along the Jordan valley, and north- 
ward to or beyond the sources of the Jordan, and called Galilee of the 
nations because it bordered on the Gentile nations north. The people in all 
this region, represented as in darkness and ignorance, and with little relig- 
ious life or light, now had Jesus, the " true light," to fill their hearts with 
heavenly truth. 

17. to preach . • . Repent:] From that time — that period to which 
the writer had just referred, the arrest of John — Jesus began to declare the 
same truth, and make the same call to repentance on the same basis that 
John had. Jesus had been teaching and preaching in Judea for some 



Common Version. 

14 That it might be fulfilled which was 
spoken by Esaias the prophet, saying, 

15 The land of Zabulon, and the land of 
Nephthalitu, by the way of the sea, beyond 
.Jordan, Galilee of the Gentiles; 

16 The people which sat in darkness saw 
great light; and to them which sat in the 
region and shadow of death light is sprung 
up. 

17 *[ From that time Jesus began to preach, 
and to say, Repent: for the kingdom of 
heaven is at hand. 



1 Gr. The way of the sea. 



Revised Version. 

14 borders of Zebulun and Naphtali: that it 
might be fulfilled which was spoken 
through Isaiah the prophet, saying, 

15 The land of Zebulun and the land of 

Naphtali, 
1 Toward the sea, beyond Jordan, 
Galilee of the 2 Gentiles, 

16 The people that sat in darkness 
Saw a great light, 

And to them that sat in the region and 

shadow of death, 
To them did light spring up. 

17 From that time began Jesus to preach, 
and to say, Repent ye; for the kingdom 
of heaven is at hand. 

2 Gr. nations : and so elsewhere. 



56 



A COMMENTARY ON THE GOSPEL OF MATTHEW. [Matt. 4 : 18-20. 



months ; now he begins the work in Galilee, and continues to proclaim John's 
ringing call, for John had been compelled by his arrest to cease his labors. 

19. I will make you fishers of men] Simon Peter and Andrew were 
seen by Jesus as he walked along the sea-shore. He calls them : " Come 
ye after me ; and I will make you fishers of men." This seems an abrupt call. 
But months before they had seen Jesus and acknowledged him as a great 
rabbi. Jesus had then given Simon his new and significant name Peter. 
John 1 : 40-42. This was a fresh call to follow Jesus, and to catch men out 
of the troubled sea of evil in the net of the new doctrine of Christ. 

One of the oldest hymns of the Church, ascribed to Clement of Alexandria, 
applies this figure to Christ : 

" Fishers of men, the blest, 
Out of the world's unrest, 
Out of sin's troubled sea, 
Taking us, Lord, to thee; 
Out of the waves of strife, 
With bait of blissful life, 
Drawing thy nets to shore 
With choicest fish good store." 

It requires skill, practice, strength, patience, hopefulness, endurance, to be 
a successful fisherman. So all these qualities would be needed in this higher 
kind of fishing for men's souls to which they were called. The winner of 
souls may well be called a " fisher of men." 

20. left their nets] At this fresh call of Jesus, the two brothers at once 
leaving the nets followed him. There are two kinds of nets used in the 
East: the cast-net (of v. 18) and the draw or drag-net. The cast-net is circu- 
lar, about ten feet in diameter, and weighted with pellets of lead around the 
rim. A line is fastened to the centre to haul the net in. The fisherman 
wades into the water up to his waist, and watches for a sign of fish. Seeing 
a ripple or any other sign, by a dexterous twirl he throws the net free, 
causing it to rotate in the air, so that it falls flat and spreads to its utmost 
breadth on the water, over the shoal of fish. The leads cause the rim of the 
net to sink quickly to the bottom, and enclose any fish which have not 
escaped. He now slowly draws the cord or line at the centre of the net, and 
captures any fish enclosed. This mode of fishing requires rare skill, and is 
very interesting work. The drag or draw-net (see Matt. 13 : 47) is a long 
strip of netting, often hundreds of feet in length and about six or eight feet 
wide. The rims at each side have long ropes running along them. One 
side is made to sink by leaden weights, and the other side to float by bits of 
cork. The net is sometimes stretched between two boats. The boats are 



Common Version. 

18 f And Jesus, walking by the sea of Gal- 
ilee, saw two brethren, Simon called Peter, 
and Andrew his brother, casting a net into 
the sea : for they were fishers. 

19 And he saith unto them, Follow me, and 
I will make you fishers of men. 

20 And they straightway left their nets, 
and followed him. 



Revised Version. 



18 



And walking by the sea of Galilee, he 
saw two brethren, Simon who is called 
Peter, and Andrew his brother, casting a 
net into the sea; for they were fishers. 
And he saith unto them, Come ye after 
me, and I will make you fishers of men. 
20 And they straightway left the nets, and 



19 



Matt. 4 : 21-23.] GALILEAN MINISTRY : CALLING DISCIPLES. 



57 



rowed so as to drag a large circle of the sea, then to approach each other draw- 
ing in the net-ropes, thus forming the net into a kind of bag enclosing the 
fish. Sometimes one end of this net is fastened, and the other end brought 
around in a great sweep by a boat, or by the fisherman wading or swimming 
around with it, hauling in any fish within its sweep. This mode of fishing 
is often alluded to in the Gospels. 

The nets were liable to be broken on the jagged rocks, or to get into a 
tangle on the branches of trees swept into the lake by the freshets of the 
rainy season. The fishermen therefore spent much time in " mending," v. 21, 
or "righting" and fixing (for the Greek is a word of wide meaning) their 
nets. Even a heavy haul of fish was in danger of rending their net. See 
John 21 : 11. Two of the miracles mentioned in the Gospels are of wonderful 
catch of fish : the first early in our Lord's ministry, when the disciples had 
spent a night of toil in fishing to no purpose, but in the morning at the com- 
mand of the Master they let down the net once more, and to their surprise 
caught such a multitude of fish that " their net brake," Luke 5 : 1-11. The 
other was on the same Lake of Galilee, when after his resurrection he directed 
them one morning which side of their boat to cast their net, and again they 
caught 153 great fish, yet "the net was not broken," John 21 : 3-11. A third 
miracle in fishing on the same Galilee was when Peter said his Master would 
pay the temple-tax. Jesus commanded him to cast a hook into the Lake of 
Galilee and take up the first fish and he would find a stater in its mouth, 
which would be sufficient to pay the tern pie- tax for himself and his Master, 
Matt. 17 : 24-27. The Sea of Galilee still abounds in fish, but the fisheries 
are nearly deserted ; this industry has died out. The Bedawin dislike and 
dread the sea ; scarcely a fisher's boat is to be seen on the lake. 

21. he saw . . James • . and John • • and he called them] Con- 
tinuing his walk along the sea-shore, Jesus again saw two brothers, John 
and James, in a boat, with their father Zebedee, mending their nets. These 
brothers he called ; and they at once leaving the boat and their father fol- 
lowed Jesus. Like Peter and Andrew, John had before seen and acknowl- 
edged Jesus as a great teacher. For there is no doubt that John was one of 
the two spoken of in John 1 : 36-40. On the form of the "ship" or "boat," 
common on the Sea of Galilee, see notes on Matt. 8 : 23, 24. Zebedee their 
father was a chief fisherman, rich enough to have hired men (Mark 1 : 20), 
and therefore not dependent on his sons. Nor did they leave him destitute 
or in want, but we may well believe that his sons went with his approval. 

23. went about all Galilee, teaching] It is quite characteristic of 



Common Version. 

21 And going on from thence, he saw other 
two brethren, James the son of Zebedee, and 
John his brother, in a ship with Zebedee 
their father, mending their nets; and he 
called them. 

22 And they immediately left the ship and 
their father, and followed him. 

23 1J And Jesus went about all Galilee, 
teaching in their synagogues, and preaching 

1 Or, Jacob : and so elsewhere. 



Revised Version. 



21 



followed him. And going on from thence 
he saw other two brethren, * James the 
son of Zebedee, and John his brother, in 
the boat with Zebedee their father, niend- 

22 ing their nets; and he called them. And 
they straightway left the boat and'their 
father, and followed him. 

23 And 2 Jesus went about in all Galilee, 
teaching in their synagogues, and preach- 

2 Some ancient authorities read he. 



58 A COMMENTARY ON THE GOSPEL OF MATTHEW. [Matt. 4 : 24, 

eastern rabbis and public men to have permanent followers or attendants. 
If rabbis, their attendants are usually disciples. This shows that the call 
to the four by the sea was natural, and in accord with the custom of the 
country. "It would have seemed as strange in Palestine," says Dr. Post, 
"to see an itinerant going alone on tours of instruction and wonder-working, 
as it would be to see a circuit-rider in our newer states with twelve students 
accompanying him in all his journeys." Starting with these disciples, he 
makes a tour in Galilee, stopping in the villages to teach in the Jewish syn- 
agogues, which would be open on the Sabbath for any teacher of repute. 
His teaching and preaching centered on the good news that the kingdom of 
heaven had now come. To attest the truth of his teaching and preaching, 
lie added to his teaching the healing of all kinds of diseases and of sickness. 
Those who have seen the multiform diseases which afflict the common people 
of Palestine now, and their dejected, hopeless and wretched condition, can 
have some idea of the stir which the work of such a wonderful healer as 
Jesus must have made in all Galilee. His disciples must have found their 
work more wearisome than fishing in the lake. In saying that Jesus healed 
"all manner of disease" the writer means, of course, all kinds that were 
brought to him. None were found, and brought to him, that he could not 
heal. 

24. sick . . diseases . . torments . . possessed . . lunatic . . palsy] 
The healings spread the fame or report of Jesus. The report of him, or, as 
the Greek has it, " the hearing of him went forth into all Syria." The 
curiosity and love of news-telling, which are specially strong in Asiatics, 
would easily and very speedily carry "the hearing" or report of this wonder- 
working to the remotest corner of the Roman province of Syria. As a 
result, greater crowds of diseased, crippled, possessed, crazy, epileptic and 
paralyzed people are borne to this new teacher. And the simple record is, 
" he healed them." There is a progression in the severity of the various 
forms of affliction mentioned. Sickness is less serious than disease, and 
" torments" imply forms of disease attended with acute pain. The possessed 
with devils, or more properly demons (for it is not the same word that is 
used for devil in the former part of the chapter), were those over whom evil 
spirits had gained such special power that the person could not always con- 
trol his own motions or acts. See Matt. 8: 28. The "lunatics," or, as the 
Greek term means, "the moon-struck," were so called because the people of 
the East believed that the moon had some subtile influence over this form of 



Common Version. 



the gospel of the kingdom, and healing all 
manner of sickness and all manner of dis- 
ease among the people. 

24 And his fame went throughout all 
Syria: and they brought unto him all sick 
people that were taken with clivers diseases 
and torments, and those which were pos- 
sessed with devils, and those which were 
lunatic, and those that had the palsy ; and 
he healed them. 

1 Or, good tidings ; and so elsewhere. 2 Or, demoniacs 



Revised Version. 



ing the l gospel of the kingdom, and heal- 
ing all manner of disease and all manner 
24 of sickness among the people. And the 
report of him went forth into all Syria: 
and thov brought unto him all that were 
sick, holden with divers diseases and tor- 
ments, -possessed with demons, and epi- 
leptic, and palsied ; and he healed them. 



Watt. 5-7.] 



THE SERMON ON THE MOUNT. 



59 



disease, which was probably like modern epilepsy. These were the con- 
spicuous afflictions in Palestine. And all these and many more are prevalent 
now, with the exception, perhaps, of demoniacal possession. 

25. there followed him great multitudes] This also is particularly 
characteristic of the East. Any great rabbi, or wonder-worker, would have 
a whole town out after him, following him day after day. It is quite natural 
that Jesus, a wonder-working teacher, should be followed by multitudes. 
The excitable character of the Orientals would call out a surging mass of 
people, full of the most extravagant demonstrations so common to the Asiatic 
temper. There were representatives from every part of the land. Decapolis 
was a Roman district on the southeast of the Sea of Galilee. The name 
means "ten cities," and was given because of the ten chief cities included 
in the district. Pliny gives the names of the ten cities, as Scythopolis, Hip- 
pos, Gadara, Pella, Philadelphia, Gerasa, Dion, Canatha, Raphana and 
Damascus. Only Damascus is of any importance now. 

Suggestive Applications. — 1. When John is cast into prison, Jesus 
takes up his work : one worker falls ; God raises a greater to fill the place. 
It was said of the martyrdom of Huss, "You roast a goose to-day; but from 
his ashes a swan will arise." (The word "Huss" meant a "goose," and the 
swan was the armorial device of Luther.) 2. Without Christ is darkness 
and death ; the gospel brings Christ, the great light. 3. The light springs up 
to us ; we do not make the light. 4. Repentance is a gospel doctrine ; it 
was the burden of John's and of Christ's teaching ; it should be the burden 
of ours also. 5. Christ calls industrious poor men; teachers and pastors are 
fishers of men. 6. We must follow Christ to be fitted for his work. 7. We 
must leave all to follow him. 8. Evil spirits may have special power over 
human souls at times. 9. Miracles attested the mission of Jesus. 10. Many 
may attend on Christian teaching without being saved by it. 

Chaps. V., VI. and VII. The Sermon on the Mount. Compare 

Luke 6 : 20-49. 



Galilee, near the Sea of Galilee. Possibly "Horns of Hattin." a.d. 28. 

Analysis. — The theme is the kingdom of heaven — Messiah's kingdom. 

(1) Subjects of the kingdom — who are blessed, chap. 5:1-12; their influ- 
ence, vs. 13-16. 

(2) The law rightly and spiritually interpreted, vs. 17-48. 

(3) Principles to guide subjects of the kingdom — in giving, chap. 6:1-4; 
concerning prayer and forgiveness, vs. 5-15; concerning fasting, vs. 16-18; 
concerning treasures, service and daily cares, vs. 19-34 ; concerning judging 
others, chap. 7 : 1-5 ; concerning holy things, and conduct towards others, 
vs. 6-12 ; warnings about the way to life and the way to death, and about 



Common Version. 

25 And there followed him great mulli- 
t mil's of people from Galilee, and from De- 
capolis, and from Jerusalem, and from Ju- 
dea, and /ro/M beyond Jordan. 



Revised Version. 

2d And there followed him great multitudes 
from Galilee and Decapolis and Jerusa- 
lem and Judaea and from beyond Jordan, 



60 A COMMENTARY ON THE GOSPEL OF MATTHEW. [Matt. 5-7. 

false teaching, vs. 13-20; about false professions, vs. 21-23T; and about hear- 
ing and not doing, vs. 24-27. The effect of the sermon, vs. 28, 29. 

The Time. — This discourse was certainly spoken after a tour of teaching 
and healing in Galilee, and after the calling of certain disciples by the Sea 
of Galilee. Nor was it until Christ's public teaching had attracted crowds 
from Galilean towns and from regions far away in Judaea and beyond the 
Jordan, Matt. 4 : 18-25. Yet it was comparatively early in his Galilean 
ministry. 

Harmonists generally place it after the choosing of the twelve apostles, an 
event which Matthew does not notice until after he reports the sermon. See 
Matt. 10 : 1-14. On this account some would place the sermon before the 
choosing of the twelve. Those who do so also hold that the discourse re- 
ported in Luke 6 : 17-49 was spoken at a different time and place. 

But Matthew appears to be narrating the sending away of the twelve upon 
some important teaching tour, apart from their Master, in chapter 10; and as 
he had not before mentioned the names in the band, he records their selec- 
tion in connection with this tour. In that case the twelve might have been 
actually chosen before the sermon on the mount. Assuming that the discourse 
reported by Luke was the same as this given by Matthew, then we may infer 
the following probable order of events : 

Jesus left Capernaum in the evening, went into the mountain and spent 
the night there alone, Luke 6 : 12. In the early morning a company of dis- 
ciples came to him ; from these he chose the twelve apostles, Luke 6 : 13. 
Meanwhile the multitudes were gathering ; and, seeing the crowds, Jesus 
sought an elevated spot upon the side of the mountain, sat down with the 
twelve, and taught the people, Matt. 5 : 1, 2. This is now usually placed in 
the spring or early summer of a.d. 28. 

The Place. — The scene of this event was certainly in Galilee, and not far 
from Capernaum. The Gospels give no intimation, however, of the direction 
from that city. It appears to have been a mountain well known to the dis- 
ciples. Delitzsch calls it " the Sinai of the New Testament." Matthew says 
Jesus " went up into the mountain," Matt. 5 : 1. Luke says, also, that Jesus 
" went out into the mountain to pray," and was there all night in prayer. In 
the morning after choosing the twelve " he came down with them, and stood 
on a level place," and multitudes came to hear him and to be healed of dis- 
eases. After healing them he looked upon his disciples, and spoke the ser- 
mon which Luke then records. See Luke 6 : 12-20. 

Jt is evident that these two descriptions might apply to the same discourse, 
at the same time and place. Given a peak of a mountain, with a level place 
in the mountain below the peak, and both descriptions are substantially met 
as to the place. The Latins have a tradition, reaching only to the twelfth 
century, however, that the Beatitudes and this sermon were spoken on the 
" Horns of Hattin," a short mountain ridge, precipitous on the north side, 
and about 400 feet high. At the eastern end of the ridge is an elevated peak 
or " horn" rising about 60 feet above the plain, and a less higher peak at the 
western end. At a distance these give the ridge the appearance of a saddle. 




the Jordan. (From a Photograph.) 

Traditional place of the baptism of Jesus, near Bethabara. 




tel hum, supposed site of Capernaum. (From a Photograph.) 

The large blocks of stone in front are part of the ruins of the White Synagogue. 



Matt. 5-7.] THE SERMON ON THE MOUNT. 6l 

" But the singularity of this ridge is, that on reaching the top you find that 
it lies along the very border of the great southern plain, where this latter 
sinks off at once by a precipitous offset to the lower plain of Hattin." — Rob- 
inson, Researches, I. 370. Stanley says the place "so strikingly coincides 
with the intimations of the Gospel narrative as almost to force the inference 
that in this instance the eye of those who selected the spot was rightly guided." 
He adds, " it is the only height seen in this direction from the shores of the 
Lake of Gennesareth. The plain on which it [the ridge] stands is easily 
accessible from the lake, and from that plain to the summit is but a few 
minutes' walk. The platform at the top is evidently suitable for the collec- 
tion of a multitude, and corresponds precisely to the 'level place' to which 
he [Jesus] would 'come down' as from one of its higher horns to address 
the people. Its situation is central both to the peasants of the Galilean hills 
and the fishermen of the Galilean lake, between which it stands, and would 
therefore be a natural resort both to Jesus and his disciples." " None of the 
other mountains in the neighborhood could answer equally well to this 
description." — Sinai and Palestine, 360. 

Geikie and Edersheim suggest some of the mountain ranges to the north 
of Capernaum, but do not indicate any particular one. Sepp thinks the 
scene was somewhere in Decapolis or Peraea. Robinson thought there 
were a dozen mountains near Capernaum suitable for the scene ; but 
later explorers do not find them. It is not possible certainly to identify 
the place; that the "Horns of Hattin" answer the requirements is all that 
can be said. 

The Hearers. — These were not the chosen disciples alone, as some have 
inferred from Luke 6:20, but were "the multitudes" of people that had 
gathered "to hear" and to be healed. Compare Matt. 5 : 1, 2 with Luke 6 : 
12-20. The audience was a mixed multitude, some of whom had been 
healed, and many perhaps of whom had become disciples. 

The Structure. — A great variety of views have been held respecting the 
structure of the sermon. Some have said that it was a compilation by the 
evangelist, or by some earlier writer, from various discourses of Jesus given 
at different times and places and to different audiences. The chief argument 
in support of this view is internal, based upon a supposed lack of connection 
or unity in the truths presented. But a careful study of the sermon itself by 
means of a simple literary analysis like the one before given reveals the 
unity of the sermon, and an orderly sequence of subjects under the great 
theme of the discourse. 

It is essentially Oriental in form and character. The teaching in the East 
was interlocutory in form ; not a continuous address as in Christian churches 
with us. The teacher thus interrupted by questions might be compelled to 
make digressions from his chief theme at times. Allowing duly for the mode 
of Oriental teaching, the sermon on the mount is remarkable for unity of 
purpose in setting forth the new kingdom, and in a logical progression of 
thought to the end. 

The Sources. — The truths in the sermon bear the stamp of the divine mind. 



62 A COMMENTARY ON THE GOSPEL OF MATTHEW. [Matt. 5-7. 



.No doubt germs of these great truths might be dimly discovered in 
ancient Persian, Chinese, Sanscrit and Hebrew literature; but no human 
mind that has not first known the Christian Scriptures lias been able to form- 
ulate nor to see these truths clearly in any other ancient writings. Much 
labor has been expended by the learned to pick out certain phrases in the 
rabbinic lore that has come down to us, which are believed to resemble cer- 
tain truths in the teachings of Christ. The aim was to show that Jesus was 
greatly indebted to the literature of his time for the marvellous truths he 
proclaimed. How signally this effort has failed to establish any such con- 
clusion may be seen by the exhaustive discussions of the subject in German 
theological treatises of last century. Edersheim, in a condensed view of 
this subject, says, " One by one, as we place the sayings of the rabbis by 
the side of those of Jesus in this sermon on the mount, we mark the same 
essential contrariety of spirit, whether as regards righteousness, sin, repent- 
ance, faith, the kingdom, alms, prayer or fasting." — Life and Times of Jesus, 
Vol. I. 535. 

The identity of the sermon on the mount with Luke's report of the sermon 
on the plain has been much discussed. The apparent difference respecting 
the " mountain" of Matthew and the " level place" of Luke has already been 
removed. It has been shown that these two accounts might have referred to 
the same spot, like the top of the ridge called the " Horns of Hattin." It 
has also been shown that the apparently different circumstances attending 
the sermon on the mount and that on "the level place" disappear upon close 
examination ; and that both were probably in or upon " the mountain." The 
only remaining objection to regarding the two accounts as relating to the 
same event is the internal structure of the sermons. But the truths taught 
are manifestly so similar in thought, if not substantially identical in expres- 
sion, that few have attempted seriously to press this ; hence we may conclude 
that the two evangelists give us reports of the same discourse. Nor are their 
reports more variant than would be those of two competent reporters of a 
sermon in our day. That they were two distinct sermons has been advocated 
by Erasmus, and by Roman writers generally (except Maldonatus), by Gress- 
well, Lange, Brown, Plumptre and others. That the two records relate to 
the same sermon is the view maintained in some form, substantially, by Gro- 
tius, Calvin, Meyer, Tischendorf, Tholuck, De Wette, Bengel, Wordsworth, 
Olshausen, Stier, Neander, Wieseler, Robinson, Schaff, Mansel, Edersheim, 
Geikie and Westcott, among many others. Augustine thought they were the 
same discourse, spoken first to disciples on the mount and repeated soon after 
to the multitudes below. But his view has not met with favor ; the general 
opinion is that the two are reports of the same discourse at the same time 
and place. 

Chap. V. The Beatitudes, vs. 1-16. 

Subjects of the Kingdom and their Influence. 

The theme, the kingdom of heaven, is opened fitly by a statement of who 
are the subjects and what influence they should exert upon the world. 



Mail 5 : 1-3.] THE BEATITUDES. 63 



The sermon on tlie mount begins with the beatitudes, so called from beatuSf 
the Latin word for blessed. The beatitudes are usually reckoned as seven in 
number, though the word " blessed " is repeated nine times, and there are 
nine paradoxical or antithetical statements. Those who count only seven, 
treat verses 10 and 11 as applications of the previous aphorisms. Others 
count the number as eight; some make the number ten, regarding the beat- 
itudes as a counterpart of the ten commandments. But the opening ex- 
pressions and the forms make the more natural number nine. There is a 
regular progression upward. 

These truths are taught in the Old Testament, but were then, as now, often 
overlooked. See Ps. 51 : 6, 17 ; Isa. 66 : 2, 13 ; Eccles. 7 : 23 ; Ps. 37 : 11 ; 
17 : 15 ; 65 : 4 ; Prov. 4 : 23. The character of the " blessed " or " happy " 
is declared ; they are subjects of the " kingdom." 

1. seeing" the multitudes] The connection of thought, though not 
necessarily of time, is closely related to 4 : 23-25. He saw the ignorance, 
the guilt and the sin of these multitudes that were following him day after 
day. He had healed them as he stood on the " plain," literally, "level 
place," as we learn from Luke 6 : 17-19. Now he goes up the mountain ; 
and having seated himself, his disciples gather close about him. In the 
East, teachers and laborers almost uniformly sit. " Stone-cutters, carpenters, 
turners, bread-makers, washerwomen, and many other artisans, who would 
stand at their work in the West, sit at it in the East." Even when one 
wishes another to serve him, he would say, " Will you sit with me and cook, 
or wash, or take care of my horse ?" This sermon was a familiar conver- 
sation, and sitting would be the fitting and customary position of the teacher. 

2. lie opened his mouth] An expression common in Llebrew and in 
classical writers, as JEschylus and Aristophanes ; it indicates the beginning 
of formal and important instruction. So Jesus invites attention by his man- 
ner as well as by his speech. 

3. Blessed . . • the poor in spirit] The teaching of the Pharisees 
and of other religious rabbins of that day seemed to favor the idea that the 
kingdom of heaven was most easily gained by the rich and the noble. They 
could rigidly pay tithes, and attend to outward forms of ceremonial worship. 
They could bring valuable offerings for the temple service. But Jesus strikes 
down this error. The kingdom of heaven is for the poor in spirit — those who 
feel that they have no personal holiness to merit or claim the kingdom. But 
the spiritual "pauper" may think himself "rich" in spiritual life. See 
Rev. 3 : 14-17. A folded paper on a pulpit read : " Prayers are requested for 
a man who is growing rich !" 



Common Version. 

CHAP. V. — And seeing the multitudes, he 
went up into a mountain : and when he 
was set, his disciples came unto him : 

2 And he opened his mouth, and taught 
them, saying, 



Revised Version. 

5 And seeing the multitudes, he went up 
into the mountain : and when he had sat 

2 down, his disciples came unto him: and 
he opened his mouth and taught them, 

saying, 



3 Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs : 3 Blessed are the poor in spirit : for theira 
is the kingdom of heaven. < is the kingdom of heaven. 



64 



A COMMENTARY ON THE GOSPEL OF MATTHEW. [Matt. 5 : 4-7. 



4. Blessed . . . they that mourn] Sorrow goes with poverty. The 
prevailing thought then as now was, religion is a duty for the rich and the 
noble to perform ; so comfort is for these classes, not for the sorrowing and the 
distressed. Thus again Jesus corrects the mistaken ideas of the world. The 
sorrowing are blessed, the comfort is for them. "They that mourn" are 
not those only who are troubled and sorrowing over their sin, but the much 
wider class, it may be, in deep spiritual sorrow, sorely longing for God and 
for his grace. Yet, sitting in darkness, they grope about, knowing not where 
they may find him. Like the magi, the star of Bethlehem may arise to com- 
fort their souls ; or the comfort may refer to the work of the Holy Spirit, 
the Comforter. Those who glory in their religion boastfully, as the Phar- 
isees, will get no soul-comfort. 

5. Blessed . • . the meek] There is little meekness in the typical 
Syrian of to-day, as there was none in the Pharisee of that era. The Syrian 
artisan boasts he is superior to any of his trade in all Europe. A Syrian 
official once gravely asked a missionary if Syrian boys could not learn as 
much in one year as American boys could in two. Those who are tranquil 
in mind, who esteem others better than themselves, are in a frame of mind 
best to enjoy, and thus in the truest and highest sense to inherit, the earth. 
For to be meek means more than to be mild or gentle ; it is more than good- 
tempered, and than having a good natural disposition. It implies a soul that 
has been subdued, schooled by suffering and discipline until it has been 
brought under the divine will, and is patient and forbearing from the highest 
religious motives. The proud, the ambitious, the rich, may appear nominally 
to have much of earthly things, but they do not really enjoy them ; only the 
meek take in all the true benefits to be drawn from the earth. This beat- 
itude is a repetition of Ps. 37 : 11. 

6. Blessed . . . they that hunger, etc.] Compare Isa. 51 : 1 ; 65 : 13. 
This seems like a reflection from the awful experience in the temptation. As 
if Jesus recalled the awful pangs of hunger, and the sorer spiritual distress 
and trial from the devil, and the succeeding blessed ministration and boun- 
tiful filling of the hungry body and soul brought to him by the angels ! So 
not those who have a conceited fullness of religion, but those who have an 
indescribable longing, like hungering and thirsting, for righteousness, will 
be most " thoroughly satisfied " or filled with it. * 

7. Blessed . . . the merciful] This thought is in Ps. 18 : 25. How 
wide this experience was from that of this world is seen in the trials of Jesus 



Common Version. 

4 Blessed are they that mourn: for they 
shall be comforted. 

5 Blessed are the meek : for they shall in- 
herit the earth. 

6 Blessed are they which do hunger and 
thirst after righteousness : for they shall be 
filled. 

7 Blessed are the merciful : for they shall 
obtain mercy. 



Revised Version. 

1 Blessed are they that mourn : for they 
shall be comforted. 

Blessed are the meek : for they shall in- 
herit the eartii. 

Blessed are they that hunger and thirst 
after righteousness : for they shall be 
filled. 

Blessed are the merciful : for they shall 
obtain mercy. 



1 Some ancient authorities transpose vs. 4 and 5. 



Matt. 5:8-11.] 



THE BEATITUDES. 



65 



and of Paul before the Jewish priests and the Roman rulers. Mercy was 
unknown or little regarded by either ruler or priest. " The Christian stands 
between mercy received and mercy needed." In the kingdom of heaven 
not harshness, not the severest penalty of law, but pity, kindness, compas- 
sion for the suffering and for the condemned, would be the rule. And in this 
spiritual realm those who show compassion would obtain mercy. The par- 
able of the good Samaritan illustrates this truth. 

8. Blessed . . . the pure in heart] Closely like this is Ps. 51 : 10. 
The leaders in Jewish religion laid great stress on outward cleanness and 
purification ; Jesus puts the great emphasis on inward purity. This does not 
refer chiefly to chastity, as Romish interpreters imply. It calls for purity 
from all forms of sin in the thought. It requires sincerity, truthfulness, 
chastity, love of God ; in fact all that is included in a " new heart." The 
pure possess the spiritual eye that will see God. 

9. Blessed . . . the peacemakers] The Jews thought that the Mes- 
siah would come as a temporal king ; by war, conquest and mighty armies 
of his people he would restore the power to Israel. Jesus faces this error 
with the opposite principle. The best subjects in my kingdom will be peace- 
makers. Not only will they have a peaceable mind in themselves ; they will 
actively make peace among the quarrelsome. Sin is disturbing, dividing, 
contentious, and makes war. The godly are peaceful and peacemakers ; see 
the case of Abram with Lot, Gen. 13 : 7-9. Those having this spirit shall 
be called the sons of God — the highest condition granted to the blessed sub- 
jects of his kingdom. They are to be joint-heirs with Christ himself. 

10. Blessed . . . they • . . persecuted for righteousness' sake] Like 
the first, the reward here is the " kingdom of heaven." Not the character but 
the condition of the subjects is here defined. Some have thought this a 
change in the beatitudes, and not in harmony with the former one ; but it 
closely resembles the fourth class, who hunger and thirst, and even the sec- 
ond, who mourn, as these also express the condition as well as the character 
of the blessed. To be godly in this world would bring on fierce persecution. 
Yet martyrs and confessors would have the kingdom. So Elijah and the old 
patriarchs had gone into it. 

11. Blessed ... ye ... for my sake] The godly, whether Jew or Gen- 
tile, had suffered persecution. But now the disciple of the Master would be 
slandered, reviled, falsely accused in all manner of ways, persecuted, not for 
being godly, but for being Christian ; for Christ's sake. What a word of 



Common Version. 

8 Blessed are the pure in heart : for they 
shall see God. 

9 Blessed are the peacemakers": for they 
shall be called the children of God. 

10 Blessed are they which are persecuted 
for righteousness' sake: for theirs is the 
kingdom of heaven. 

11 Blessed are ye, when men shall revile 
you, and persecute you, and shall say all 
manner of evil against you falsely, for my 
sake. 



Revised Version. 



8 



Blessed are the pure in heart : for they 
shall see God. 
9 Blessed are the peacemakers: for they 
shall be called sons of God. 

10 Blessed are they that have been perse- 
cuted for righteousness' sake: for theirs 

11 is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are 
ye when men shall reproach you, and per- 
secute you, and say all manner of evil 



06 



A COMMENTARY ON THE GOSPEL OF MATTHEW. [Matt. 5 : 12-14. 



comfort is this to the abused, reviled, persecuted souls suffering for Christ's 
sake ! Elijah was pursued, Jeremiah in prison, Daniel among the lions, and 
Isaiah sawn asunder. The persecuted of to-day are in the great company of 
prophets and of the souls " under the altar," soon to stand before the Lamb 
in white robes. Rev. 6:9; 7:9. 

12. Rejoice] Ignatius the martyr, about to be thrown to the wild 
beasts in Rome, exulted : " Now I begin to be a disciple, . . . now I am made 
fine flour, ground by the teeth of wild beasts, to become bread of my 
God." 

13. Ye are the salt of the earth] Having stated who are the subjects 
of the kingdom and their leading traits of character, Jesus now declares some 
of their passive duties. Salt is to preserve things from spoiling and corrup- 
tion. Christians are to preserve the world and human society from corrup- 
tion. Moreover salt gives flavor and "character" to food. If the salt has 
lost its saltness, then it is worthless ; it hastens rather than stays the corrup- 
tion. So with the disciple ; if he loses his Christian character and becomes 
worldly, he is worthless. The salt of Palestine now comes chiefly from Cy- 
prus. Its importation and sale are monopolized by the Turkish government. 
Salt there is not all pure and white as with us, but most of it is impure, dark 
and dirty, being mixed with lime, magnesia, iron and other earthy matter. 
Some salt is also derived from the evaporation of sea-water, which is com- 
paratively pure and will retain its savor. But the bulk of the salt there is 
from natural deposits and impure, and therefore easily loses its savor. It is 
this kind to which Jesus referred. The modern use of salt in a covenant is 
also of great antiquity. To eat salt with one makes mutual friends, even 
though it be secured by accident or strategy. Macgregor, in " Rob Roy on 
the Jordan," describes his capture and that of his company by Bedouins. 
Their sheikh, mistaking Macgregor's salt for white sugar, tasted a pinch of 
it. Seeing his mistake, he made a wry face at being thus unwittingly made 
his friend and prevented from robbing him ; and his company also laughed 
at their sheikh in spite of their disappointment in losing the expected booty. 
But the crude natural salt of the country, losing its flavor, is worthless, and 
no man will allow it to be cast on his field. The only place for it is the 
street, where it is trodden under foot. 

14. Ye are the light of the world] Their light was from Christ, the 
true Light, which lighted every man, John 1 : 9. Light opposes darkness and 
dispels it ; so holiness in the Christian tends to overcome wickedness and 



Common Version. 

12 Eejoice, and be exceeding glad: for 
great & your reward in heaven : for so per- 
secuted they the prophets which were before 
you. 

13 fl Ye are the salt of the earth : but if the 
salt have lost his savour, wherewith shall it 
be salted? it is thenceforth good for noth- 
ing, but to be cast out, and to be trodden 
under foot of men. 

14 Ye are the light of the world. A city 
that is set on a hill cannot be hid. 



Revised Version. 

12 against you falsely, for my sake. Rejoice, 
and be exceeding glad : for great is your 
reward in heaven : for so persecuted they 
the prophets that were before you. 

13 Ye are the salt of the earth : but if the 
salt have lost its savour, wherewith shall 
it be salted? it is thenceforth good for 
nothing, but to be cast out and trodden 

14 under foot of men. Ye are the light of 
the world. A city set on a hill cannot be 



Matt. 5 : 15, 16.] 



THE BEATITUDES. 



67 



dispel it. Salt keeps that on which it acts from decay ; light fosters life and 
growth. Believers are to do more than prevent decay ; they are to promote 
life. The Christian is a light ; like a city set on a hill, he cannot be hid. 
Jesus may have pointed to some such city in sight. From the Mount 
of Beatitudes or Horns of Hattin, Safed, counted one of the four holy cities 
of Palestine, is distinctly visible ; and the top of Tabor can also be seen, 
on which are ruins of ancient buildings, so that either of these could have 
answered for the illustration. 

15. light a candle, • • • under a bushel, • • • a candlestick] Or, 

" Neither do men light a lamp, and put it under the bushel [the measure], 
but on the stand," R. V. This verse is a striking illustration of how our 
Occidental modes of life and of thought obscure the meaning of Scripture. 
"Candles," "bushels" and "candlesticks" were unknown in Syria; but 
every house was provided with a lamp and a house-measure. 

The ancient lamp was of various shapes and materials. The rich had 
lamps of ornamented terra-cotta, bronze, silver and gold. The poor had plain 
earthenware lamps, saucer-like in form, with an edge or spout turned up on 
one side to hold the lighted part of the wick, and having a handle on the 
opposite side. They burned oil, or grease of any kind. The " bushel " was 
the common " measure " of every house, usually holding about a peck. A 
lamp, which often was not taller than a tea-cup, could as easily be placed 
under as upon this measure. The lamp-stand was usually a tall article of 
furniture placed upon the floor like a small stand. In Oriental lands now it 
is made of wood or brass, often highly ornamented, and of artistic design. 
The top is sometimes pentagonal, and from the centre a rod projects upward 
two or more feet. To this rod a movable arm is affixed, upon which the 
lamp can be placed at any height to suit those in the house. 

16. Let your light • • • shine] If the light is in you it will shine, if 
you will let it. You can hinder it from shining. But you may let it shine 
to the glory of your Father in heaven, because men observe Christians 
closely. Where one man reads his Bible a hundred read Christians. And 
the world is more apt to judge Christianity by the conduct of its professors 
than by the doctrines of its Founder. Your light is to shine, not to glorify 
self, but to glorify God. 

Suggestive Applications. — 1. Luther said to a teacher of his day, 
" Get up boldly ; open the mouth widely ; be done quickly." 2. When Jesus 
speaks, our hearts should be open. 3. Who are the blessed ? " The poor in 
spirit: not the poor in spirituals." — Henry. 4. Not the merry but the 
mourning are comforted : godly sorrow ; eternal comfort. 5. The world is 



Common Version. 

15 Neither do men light a candle, and put 
it under a bushel, but on a candlestick ; and 
it giveth light unto all that are in the house. 

16 Let your light so shine before men, that 
they may see your good works, and glorify 
your Father which is in heaven. 



Revised Version. 

15 hid. Neither do men light a lamp, and 
put it under the bushel, but on the stand ; 
and it shineth unto all that are in the 

16 house. Even so let your light shine be- 
fore men, that they may see your good 
works, and glorify your Father who is in 
heaven. 



68 



A COMMENTARY ON THE GOSPEL OF MATTHEW. [Matt. 5: 17-19. 



possessed not by might but by meekness. 6. The bread of heaven is for the 
spiritually hungry. 7. Kindness brings its own reward. 8. It is the per- 
fection of life to see God. 9. Sin makes war ; godliness makes peace. 10. 
Reviling believers is persecuting them. 11. Christians ought to preserve 
and give flavor to human society. 12. Believers are lights : beacon lights 
to the erring ; comforting lights to the holy. 13. The works of saints will 
glorify God. 

Jesus and the Law. vs. 17-26. 

Galilee, a.d. 28. 

17. Think not that I . . . destroy the law, or the prophets] Jesus 
had just spoken of good works which would glorify God. Thus Jesus is 
naturally led to explain his relation to the law. I came not to "loosen" or 
"let down" (the figure is that of taking down a structure) the law or the 
prophets. These two phrases, " law and prophets," are used to designate the 
whole written law, the Old Testament, and are not to be taken separately, as 
Meyer, Lange and the German critics generally interpret them. I came to 
fulfill the types and predictions of the Scripture. To show how Jesus did 
this was the chief object of Matthew in writing his Gospel. 

18. one jot or . . . tittle] Instead of having come to destroy the 
law, verily, the law is indestructible until fulfilled. The amen, transferred 
from the Hebrew to the Greek, and rendered " verily " in English, is an 
ejaculatory word, expressing the certainty of a thing, or sometimes, as at the 
end of a petition, a desire or wish that it be sure or certain. The "jot" is lit- 
erally the smallest Greek letter " *," iota, as " i" yod, is the smallest letter in 
Hebrew, which is often a silent letter, or strictly an adjunct of a letter. Yet its 
presence might make an important change. It makes the difference between 
Sarai and Sarah, Hoshea and Joshua, and is the first letter in Jehovah. 
Tittle is literally " a little horn " or point, such as would distinguish the 
Hebrew letters daleth and resh, corresponding to the English d and r, pr 
a breathing in Greek which would give a letter the aspirate sound. The 
words refer to the written, not printed, language. " Till heaven and earth 
pass" is an emphatic form of expression, for " never" will the law pass away 
until all its mission is done ; for Jesus is not here referring to the ceremonial 
law specifically, but to the moral law. Its obligation will remain and be bind- 
ing as long as heaven and earth remain. So Meyer and others justly maintain. 

19. break one of these least commandments] As a deduction from 



Common Version. 

17 f Think not that I am come to destroy 
the law, or the prophets: I am not come to 
destroy, but to fulfil. 

18 For verily I say unto you, Till heaven 
and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in 
no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled. 

19 Whosoever therefore shall break one of 
these least commandments, and shall teach 
men so, he shall be called the least in the 
kingdom of heaven : but whosoever shall do 
and teach them, the same shall be called 
great in the kingdom of heaven. 



Kevised Version. 

17 Think not that I came to destroy the 
law or the prophets : I came not to de- 

18 stroy, but to fulfil. For verily I say unto 
you, Till heaven and earth pass away, one 
jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass away 
from the law, till all things be accom- 

19 plished. Whosoever therefore shall break 
one of these least commandments, and 
shall teach men so, shall be called least in 
the kingdom of heaven: but whosoever 
shall do and teach them, he shall be called 



Matt. 5 : 20, 21.] JESUS AND THE LAW. 69 

what he has just said of the enduring obligation of the moral law, this fol- 
lows. Whoever " breaks," or literally, whoever " looses " or " lets down " 
(see Mark 1 : 7, where the Greek word is rendered " unloose"), one of these 
smaller points in the law, and shall teach such errors, by any mistaken 
or vicious interpretation, or in any other way, he shall be the smallest 
in the kingdom of heaven. But whoever will do and teach the law with con- 
scientious and accurate fidelity, extending to even the smallest points, he 
shall be called great in the kingdom. 

20. exceed the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees] These 
classes were the "holy ones" of that day. They boasted about observ- 
ance of the law. How they were regarded we may see from a similar 
class of "holy ones" in Palestine to-day. "The most familiar spectacle 
in Syria is one of these sallow, lean, sour-faced fanatical sheikhs, walking 
with fixed downcast eyes through the crowd, muttering his prayers, while 
the passers by reach out for his hand or the borders of his garment to kiss. 
It is nothing that he is dirty, ill-mannered, surly, ignorant of everything but 
his narrow circle of ideas ; proud, cruel, vindictive. He is a holy man, and 
belongs to a holy caste. All that Christ said of the Pharisees and scribes 
may be well said of these provincial hypocrites of Asia." — Geo. E. Post, 
M.D., in The S. S. World, vol. xx. p. 45. The latter are a powerful, danger- 
ous class, that stir up revolts and tumults ; depose and instate sultans ; 
create and rule such public sentiment as may reign among Asiatics. No 
wonder Christ called not merely for more righteousness along their lines, but 
for a vastly higher hind of righteousness, to enter his kingdom ! 

21. it was said ... of old time, Thou shalt not kill] Jesus now 
illustrates his meaning by special cases. This is taken from the sixth com- 
mandment. The citation is from the Greek version, which implies that 
Jesus was familiar with it. Who were " them of old time "? Some say 
Moses and the inspired teachers who followed him. Then Christ would con- 
trast the law, as given and interpreted by Moses, with his own interpretation 
of it. The reading " to them of old time " of the Revised Version favors 
this view. But it seems to be in some measure inconsistent with what Jesus 
had said about his coming to fulfill the law. For in this view his exposition 
would amount almost to a new law. Others maintain that the " ancients " 
refer to scribes and others following the great captivity, who arranged the 
later code and added many traditional features to it. The reading " by them 
of old time " of the Common Version favors this view, and it is in keeping 
with the context. The other view makes it difficult to explain the phrase " who- 
soever shall kill shall be in danger of the judgment," for this is manifestly 



Common Version. 

20 For I say unto you, That, except your 
righteousness shall exceed the righteousness 
of the scribes and Pharisees, ye shall in no 
case enter into the kingdom of heaven. 

21 f Ye have heard that it was said by 
them of old time, Thou shalt not kill ; and 



Revised Version. 

20 great in the kingdom of heaven. For 1 
say unto you, that except your righteous- 
ness shall exceed the righteousness of tho 
.scribes and Pharisees, ye shall in no wise 
enter into the kingdom of heaven. 
, 21 Ye have heard that it was said to them 
whosoever shall kill shall be in danger of the of old time, Thou shalt not kill ; and who- 

judgment: [ soever shall kill shall be in danger of the 



70 A COMMENTARY ON THE GOSPEL OF MATTHEW. [Matt. 5 : 22, 23. 

a citation from traditional, not written, law. The point of Christ's teaching is 
directed not against the original commandment, as given at Sinai, but against 
this vicious "loosening" or "letting down" of the law condemned in v. 19. 

22. I say . . . whosoever is angry] Over against the traditional 
gloss, which hides and perverts this command, Jesus sets the true meaning of 
it. In rabbinical interpretation, anything short of actual killing was a sec- 
ondary matter. Even actual killing might be " compounded " by money, as 
often now in the East. But Jesus strikes at the murderous thoughts in their 
very beginning. Unrighteous anger towards a brother would expose a per- 
son to judgment of the lower spiritual court. Deut. 16 : 18. Calling him 
" Raca," " empty-head," " blackguard," exposed one to the higher spiritual 
court, the council ; and calling a brother a " fool," as if condemning him as 
an atheist (see Ps. 14 : 1), made one liable to "the hell of fire." Here is an 
evident climax in the offences : 1, angry thoughts ; 2, angry words ; 3, angry 
condemning words. And there is a similar climax in the penalties : condemn- 
ation in 1, lower spiritual court ; 2, higher spiritual court ; 3, in hell fire. 
The "hell fire," or " the hell of fire" as in the Revised Version, is literally 
the " Gehenna of fire," a phrase used by the Jews, especially the Pharisees, 
to represent the place of future punishment. Observe that Jesus does not 
mention actual " murder," nor any outward murderous act. But this awful 
punishment applies to murderous thoughts and murderous words. He seems 
not to contemplate the possibility of any subject of his kingdom committing 
actual murder. Harboring the thought of murder breaks the sixth com- 
mandment, and puts a soul in danger of the awful punishment of the " hell 
of fire." This climax or gradation agrees well with the " beaten with many " 
and " with few stripes." Luke 12 : 47, 48. 

23. Therefore if . . . thy brother hath aught] " Therefore," to 
illustrate and apply this teaching, he says that even when you have an 
offering at the altar, and remember that your brother is offended with you, 
you must leave the gift (which the traditions of the elders forbid one to do), 
and be first reconciled to your brother. For as the outward offering must be 
without blemish or it will be rejected, so the heart must cast out all feeling 
of sin, or that will vitiate the acceptance of any outward offering, no matter 
how perfect it may otherwise be. The reconciliation is more than getting 
the ill-will out of our own hearts ; it also includes confession and amends 
to our brother, so as to bring about a reconciliation. 



Common Version. 



Kevised Version. 



22 But I say unto you, That whosoever is 
angry with his brother without a cause shall 
be in danger of the judgment : and whoso- 
ever shall say to his brother, Raca, shall be 
in danger of* the council : but whosoever 
shall say, Thou fool, shall be in danger of 
hell fire. 

23 Therefore if thou bring thy gift to the 
altar, and there rememberest that thy broth- 
er hath aught against thee ; 

*Many ancient authorities insert without cause. 2 An expression of contempt. 3 Or f 
Morehy a Hebrew expression of condemnation. * Gr. unto or into. 6 Gr. Gehenna of fire. 



22 judgement : but I say unto you, that every 
one who is angry with his brother 1 shall 
be in danger of the judgement ; and who- 
soever shall say to his brother, 2 Raca, shall 
be in danger of the council ; and whoso- 
ever shall say, 3 Thou fool, shall be in 

23 danger 4 of the 5 hell of fire. If therefore 
thou art offering thy gift at the altar, and 
there rememberest that thy brother hatu 



Matt. 5 : 34-27.] 



PURITY OF THOUGHT AND SPEECH. 



71 



25. Agree with thine adversary quickly] Or, literally, " Be well- 
minded toward thy prosecutor quickly." The Greek word for "adversary" 
means primarily "one who speaks against" another in a lawsuit. The 
Asiatics have long blood-feuds, often handed down from father to son for 
several generations. But Jesus said to his followers, Make concessions rather 
than insist upon the last penny justice might warrant you in claiming. 

Falling into the judge's hand is an event always deplored in the East. 
What with bribes, delays, subterfuges and perversions of justice in the courts 
there, a person seldom escapes without heavy losses ; often stripped of every- 
thing. If the judge hands him over to the " officer," a subordinate minister 
of law like a sheriff or a constable, and he is cast into prison, he seldom gets 
out without ruining himself and all his friends. 

"Farthing" here and in Mark 12 : 42 stands for the Greek spelling of the 
Latin quadrans, " quarter," a Roman coin so called because it was one fourth 
of a larger coin called as. It was equal to two lepta, or about three quarters 
of a farthing English money, or about one quarter to one half a cent Amer- 
ican money. Cicero calls the quadrans the smallest Roman coin of his time. 
The " farthing" of Matt. 10 : 29 and Luke 12 : 6 represents another coin worth 
about four times as much as the quadrans, here counted a "farthing" also. 

Suggestive Applications. — 1. Jesus destroys the works of the devil, 
not the law of God. 2. The true reformer builds up the true. 3. It is a 
dangerous thing to "let down" or misinterpret in the least God's holy law. 
4. Our righteousness must be different in kind and degree from that of 
hypocrites and formalists. 5. A religion which does not reform and change 
the heart will not bring men into the kingdom. 6. The soul that hates is a 
murderer. 7. Murder is in the thought, the angry feeling, the insulting 
word, as well as in the hand that kills. 8. To call our brother a "fool" is 
to show a murderous spirit. 9. Love is the root of all true religion ; we 
cannot bring gifts to God while we hate our brother. 10. The worshipper 
must obey the law of reconciliation to be accepted. 11. Piety without love 
is spurious piety. 12. We are to live not merely peaceably but lovingly 
towards our fellow men. 

Purity of Thought and Speech. The Extent of Law. vs. 27-37. 

Galilee, a.d. 28. 
27. Thou sluilt not commit adultery] After explaining the sixth 



Common Version. 

24 Leave there thy gift before the altar, 
and go thy way; first be reconciled to thy 
brother, and then come and offer thy gift. 

25 Agree with thin£ adversary quickly, 
while thou art in the way with him ; lest at 
any time the adversary deliver thee to the 
judge, and the judge deliver thee to the offi- 
cer, and thou be cast into prison. 

26 Verily I say uuto thee, Thou shalt by 
no means come out thence, till thou hast 
paid the uttermost farthing. 

27 f[ Ye have heard that it was said by them 
Of old time, Thou shalt not commit adultery : 



Revised Version. 

24 aught against thee, leave there thy gift 
before the altar, and go thy way, first be 
reconciled to thy brother, and then come 

25 and offer thy gift. Agree with thine ad- 
versary quickly, while thou art with him 
in the way; lest haply the adversary de- 
liver thee to the judge, and the judge 
1 deliver thee to the officer, aud thou be 

2t3 cast into prison. Verily I say unto thee, 
Thou shalt by no means come out thence, 
till thou have paid the last farthing. 

27 Ye have heard that it was said, Thou 



1 Some ancient authorities omit deliver thee. 



72 



A COMMENTARY ON THE GOSPEL OF MATTHEW. [Matt. 5 : 28-33. 



commandment regarding murder, Jesus exhibits the true meaning of the 
seventh commandment. By the Mosaic law both parties guilty of adultery 
were stoned to death, except when the woman was a slave or not betrothed. 
If she were a slave she was not to be put to death, and the man was to offer 
a trespass-offering. If she were not a slave, and not betrothed, the man was 
to pay a ransom to her father and marry the damsel. Lev. 20 : 10 ; 19 : 
20 ; Deut. 22 : 22-27. If there was no outward criminal act, then the scribes 
held that there was no sin. But Jesus declares that whoever gazes lustfully 
on a woman has already broken the seventh commandment. For adultery is 
of the heart ; not alone of the outward evil act. 

29, 30. right eye . . . right hand offend] If any member of the 
body causes the man to stumble, it profits or benefits a man to lose that mem- 
ber rather than allow it to lead to the destruction of the whole man. Any 
sense that leads us to sin is an evil. The loss of that sense, whether it be of 
sight, hearing, refined taste, or aesthetic perception, if it brings us into sin, 
would be a gain. This is the law of self-restraint. 

31. Whosoever shall put away his wife] Divorce is rightly based on 
the seventh commandment. The rabbins had made the law of divorce as 
shamefully loose as it is now in some of the United States. The school of 
Hillel declared, " If any man see a woman handsomer than his wife, he may 
dismiss his wife and marry that woman." If a wife cooked her husband's 
food badly, by over-salting or burning it, he could put her away. But Jesus 
allowed only one ground, that of fornication, for divorce. This Christian 
rule of the family will be treated more fully in Matt. 19 : 3-9. 

33. Thou shalt not forswear thyself] Jesus next corrects a perver- 
sion of the third commandment. He is not setting aside the moral law as 
obsolete : he is scraping off the rusty traditions which the religionists of that 



Common Version. 

28 But I say unto you, That whosoever 
looketh on a woman to lust after her hath 
committed adultery with her already in his 
heart. 

29 And if thy right eye offend thee, pluck 
it out, and cast it from thee : for it is profit- 
able for thee that one of thy members should 
perish, and not that thy whole body should 
be cast into hell. 

30 And if thy right hand offend thee, cut it 
off, and cast it from thee: for it is profitable 
for thee that one of thy members should 

{)erish, and not that thy whole body should 
)e cast into hell. 

31 It hath been said, Whosoever shall put 
away his wife, let him give her a writing of 
divorcement : 

32 But I say unto you, That whosoever 
shall put away his wife, saving for the cause 
of fornication, causeth her to commit adul- 
tery : and whosoever shall marry her that is 
divorced committeth adultery. 

38 f Again, ye have heard that it hath been 
said by them of old time, Thou shalt not 
forswear thyself, but shalt perform unto the 
Lord thine oaths: 



Revised Version. 

28 shalt not commit adultery : but I say unto 
you, that every one that looketh on a 
woman to lust after her hath committed 
adultery with her already in his heart. 

29 And if thy right eye causeth thee to 
stumble, pluck it out, and cast it from 
thee : for it is profitable for thee that one 
of thy members should perish, and not 

30 thy whole body be cast into x hell. And 
if thy right hand causeth thee to stumble, 
cut it off, and cast it from thee : for it is 
profitable for thee that one of thy mem- 
bers should perish, and not thy whole 

31 body go into * hell. It was said also, Who- 
soever shall put away his wife, let him 

32 give her a writing of divorcement: but I 
say unto you, that every one that putteth 
away his wife, saving for the cause of for- 
nication, inaketh her an adulteress: and 
whosoever shall marry her when she is 
put away committeth adultery. 

33 Again, ye have heard that it was said 
to them of old time, Thou shalt not for- 
swear thyself, but shalt perform unto the 



J Gr. Gehenna. 



Matt. 5 : 34-37.] 



PURITY OF THOUGHT AND SPEECH. 



73 



day had allowed to gather upon it. He was bringing out that law in its 
original lustre. The rabbins said, If you do not swear falsely, nor use the 
name of God, but perform your oaths to the Lord, you are without guilt. 
By coupling together parts of two commands the rabbins nullified both. 
" Thou shalt not forswear thyself" is drawn from Lev. 19 : 12 as an interpre- 
tation of the third commandment, Ex. 20 : 7 ; " but shalt perform unto the 
Lord thine oaths " is based on Deut. 23 : 23, where the command relates to 
vows. To forswear one's self is " to swear falsely." I may not swear falsely, 
said the rabbin, but if it is true I may swear. I may not profane the name 
of God, said he, but if I swear by heaven, by earth, by my head, or by Jeru- 
salem, I do not use the name of God, and so am guiltless. Thus the law of 
God was jesuitically handled and destroyed. Swearing is the commonest 
vice of the East. The Arabs can hardly assert the simplest truth without 
some form of oath. The Turkish for "yes" is "yes, by," a short form for 
an oath. That similar expressions were common in Christ's day we infer 
from the Talmud. Maimonides gravely declares that swearing " by heaven, 
by the earth, by the sun," etc., though a man may thus under these words 
swear by him who created them, yet it is not an oath. The early Waldenses, 
the Friends and some other Christian sects maintain that Christ here forbids 
all judicial oaths also. Others hold that he did not intend to exclude these, 
for (1) The moral law by Moses allowed them ; and to forbid them would be 
to annul that law, which Jesus declared was not his purpose. (2) Jesus him- 
self answered under such an adjuration, Matt. 26 : 63, 64. Jesus was con- 
demning irreverent and vain words in common speech. Therefore he said, 
let your yea be yea, and your nay, nay. Be so truthful that no one will 
think that vain objurgations strengthen your statements. 

Suggestive Applications. — 1. The law is spiritual: it regulates the 
conduct through the heart. 2. Outward morality does not satisfy the law. 
3. The purity and stability of the family lie at the foundation of all good 
society. 4. The family is to be broken up only on the ground of sin against 
the marriage vow. 5. Lust in the eyes or in the heart is breaking the 
seventh commandment. 6. The third commandment forbids all vain " use 
of God's names, titles, attributes, ordinances, words and works." 7. Jesus 
forbids all use of blasphemous words and expressions. All appeals to God 
in common speech are sinful. So are the semblances of them. Boys often 
say " deuce," " dickens," or " old Nick take it," short for " the devil take 



Common Version. 

34 But I say unto you, Swear not at all ; 
neither by heaven ; for it is ( n>d's throne : 

35 Nor by the earth ; for it is his footstool : 
neither by Jerusalem ; for it is the city of 
the great King. 

36 Neither shalt thou swear by thy head, 
because thou canst not make one hair white 
|r black. 

37 But let your communication be, Yea, 
yea; Nay, nay : for whatsoever is more than 
these cometh of evil. 

1 Or, toward 
t.39; 6:13. 



Revised Version. 

34 Lord thine oaths: but I say unto you, 
Swear not at all; neither by the heaven, 

35 for it is the throne of God ; nor by the 
earth, for it is the footstool of his feet ; 
nor 1 hy Jerusalem, for it is the city of the 

36 great King. Neither shalt thou swear by 
thy head, for thou canst not make one 

37 hair white or black. 2 But let your speech 
be, Yea, yea ; Nay, nay : and whatsoever 
is more than these is of 3 the evil one. 

2 Some ancient authorities read But your speech shall be. 3 Or, evil: as in 



74 



A COMMENTARY ON THE GOSPEL OF MATTHEW. [Matt. 5 : 38-41. 



it;" or "darn," "dang," etc., vulgar contractions for damn, and a multitude 
of like phrases heard in low life, and sometimes in so-called high life : these 
are all very thin forms of swearing, and are sinful. 8. Even judicial oaths 
show an evil society ; for if the truth were always told, as it ought to be, in 
society, there would be no need of the judicial oath. 

Love required by the Law. vs. 38-48. 
Galilee, a.d. 28. 
38. All eye for an eye] The lex talionis, or the law of retaliation, was 
a restraint put upon private revenge. Revenge is a specially strong trait in 
Eastern character. Not to revenge a wrong was considered a disgrace. The 
laws given by Moses on this subject took the matter out of the hands of the 
individual, and regulated it by judicial statutes. But this had been perverted 
in two ways: (1) by using it to justify private revenge, and (2) by corrupt- 
ing and annulling justice in their judicial decisions. Jesus strikes at both ; 
and exhibits the spirit of the law on which such judicial permissive retali- 
ations were based. Subjects of Christ's kingdom are to suffer wrong ; not 
to retaliate nor harbor ill-feeling towards the offender. They are not even 
to exact judicial vengeance on their neighbors. "Lynch law," "striking 
back," contentions, are all in the face of Christ's rule, to " resist not evil." 
Better to turn the other cheek than to take private revenge. Yet non-resist- 
ance here taught is not intended to foster an abject spirit in face of evil. 

40. sue thee at the law, or " go to law with thee," and he that " sues 
thee" (for this is the better legal phrase) to get thy " coat" or " tunic," let him 
have thy " cloak" or outer garment also] The " coat" or " tunic" is a loose 
under-garment, made of silk, or cotton and silk. The "cloak" or aba is the 
large square outer garment of goat's hair, linen, cotton or silk, open in front 
and embroidered about the shoulders and neck, and is wrapped about the 
person at night. Hence the law did not allow this garment to be retained 
by a creditor over night, Ex. 22 : 26, 27, for it was the chief bed-covering. 

41. compel thee to g"0 a mile] In early time distances were reckoned 
not by miles but by hours, as now in Palestine. During the Boman rule, the 
Roman military roads with their mile-posts made the mile a temporary 
mode of counting distance during the early part of the Christian era. Even 
in these minute historical allusions, the gospel writers show that they are 
faithful witnesses. The Roman mile was 142 yards shorter than the Eng- 
lish statute mile. Citizens were often compelled to help forward military 
heralds and royal persons in the East. See 2 Chron. 30 : 6, 10. 



Common Version. 

38 fl Ye have heard that it hath heen said, 
An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth : 

39 But I say unto you, That ye resist not 
evil: but whosoever shall smite then on thy 
right cheek, turn to him the other also. 

40 And if any man will sue thee at the 
law, and take away thy coat, let him have 
thy cloak also. 

41 And whosoever shall compel thee to go 
a mile, go with him twain. 

1 Or, evil 



Revised Version. 

38 Ye have heard that it was said, An eye 

39 for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth : but I 
say unto you, Resist not * him that is evil : 
but whosoever smiteth thee on thy right 

40 cheek, turn to him the other also. And 
if any man would go to law with thee, 
and take away thy coat, let hum have thy 

41 cloke also. And whosoever shall - compel 
thee to go one mile, go with him twain. 

2 Gr. impress. 



Matt. 5 : 42-48.] 



LOVE REQUIRED BY THE LAW. 



75 



42. Give to him that asketh] We are to give by the law of love. 
But this does not mean to enforce indiscriminate giving. Alford well re- 
marks: "To give everything to every one — the sword to the madman, the 
alms to the impostor, the criminal request to the temptress — would be to act 
as the enemy of others and ourselves." 

43. love thy neighbor, . . . hate thine enemy] This was another 
detestable gloss on the law. It is a gross perversion of Lev. 19 : 18. The 
rabbins made it appear that if it is right to love our neighbor, then it is 
right to hate our enemy. The Jew knew only the Jews as his neighbors, 
not Samaritans or the Gentiles. The latter could be soundly scorned and 
hated, in their view, without sin ; nay, it was a sin not to despise them. 
Jesus sets down one law of love toward all. Hate in the heart is murder 
begun. The follower of Christ is to return love for hate, blessing for cursing, 
good for evil, prayers for persecution. Two clauses in v. 44 are omitted in 
the Kevised Version, but the general principle taught is not changed by the 
omission. 

45-48. That ye may be] Three reasons are attached to this require- 
ment to love our enemies : 1. It is like God ; 2. Despised publicans love 
those that love them (on the publicans, see Matt. 9:9); 3. The godless 
Gentiles greet those that greet them. Christ's people are not to be like these : 
they are to be like their Father in heaven in the completeness of their love. 
As he is perfect or complete (in Luke it is " Be merciful, as your Father is 
merciful"), so his children should have like completeness. As his love em- 
braces the godless, his enemies, and as he sends upon just and unjust alike 
sun, rain, and temporal blessings, so his people are to be controlled by the 
same law of love in their acts and feelings toward all men. They are to be 
as complete in their love and mercy, including enemies as well as friends, 
as their Father is complete in his love and mercy. 

Suggestive Applications. — 1. The law of private retaliation is the law 



Common Version. 

42 Give to him that asketh thee, and from 
him that would borrow of thee turn not 
thou away. 

43 ^ Ye have heard that it hath been said, 
Thou shalt love thy neighbour, and hate 
thine enemy. 

44 But I say unto you, Love your enemies, 
bless them that curse you, do good to them 
that hate you, and pray for them which de- 
spitefully use you, and persecute you ; 

45 That ye may be the children of your Fa- 
ther which is in heaven: for he maketh his 
sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and 
sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust. 

46 For if ye love them which love you, 
what reward have ye? do not even the pub- 
licans the same? 

47 And if ye salute your brethren only, 
what do ye more than others? do not even 
the publicans so? 

48 He ye therefore perfect, even as your 
Father which is in heaven is perfect. 



Revised Version. 

42 Give to him that asketh thee, and from 
him that would borrow of thee turn not 
thou away. 

43 Ye have heard that it was said, Thou 
shalt love thy neighbour, and hate thine 

44 enemy: but I say unto you, Love your 
enemies, and pray for them that perse- 

45 cute you ; that ye may be sons of your 
Father who is in heaven : for he maketh 
his sun to rise on the evil and the good, 
and sendeth rain on the just and the un- 

46 just. For if ye love them that love you, 
what reward have ye? do not even the 

47 * publicans the same? And if ye salute 
your brethren only, what do ye more 
than others? do not even the Gentiles the 

48 same? Ye therefore shall be perfect, as 
your heavenly Father is perfect. 



1 That is, collectors or renters of Roman taxes : and so elsewhere. 



76 



A COMMENTARY ON THE GOSPEL OF MATTHEW. [Matt. 6: 1, 2. 



of the world, not of heaven. The laws of Draco (700 B.C.) punished every 
crime, even petty theft and idleness, with death. The laws of Solon and of 
the twelve Roman tables prescribed that the punishment should be as the 
offence. 2. The Mosaic law of judicial "retaliation" was partly permissive, 
not compulsory. The injured might require retaliation through the magis- 
trate, but in most cases he might accept money damages for the injury. 3. 
Believers are to be controlled by love and kindness. 4. They are to love 
enemies ; see Ex. 23 : 4, 5. 5. Saints are to be like God. 



Chap. VI. Giving and Praying, vs. 1-15. 
Horns op Hattin (?), a.d. 28. 

1. Take heed that ye do not your alms] or righteousness. Jesus, in 
the first part of his discourse, exposed the perversions of the law by the 
Jewish religionists, and their Jesuitical casuistry in interpreting and apply- 
ing the commandments. He had shown how the spirit of even the old 
law reached the heart, and thus was spiritual, not external. He now takes 
up outward religious acts upon which the Pharisees prided themselves, and 
points out the utter emptiness of their religion in this respect also. The 
three great duties of religion, according to Jew, Moslem and Romanist, are 
alms-giving, fasting and prayer. Jesus introduces his teaching on these 
subjects by stating the true principle or motive underlying all such duties. 
Believers are not to practice their "righteousness" (see Revised Version) to 
have men admire and applaud them. It is more probable that Jesus used 
the broader word " dikaiosunen" " righteousness," as in the Revised Version 
of v. 1, not eleemosunen, alms, and meant to include all of religion. He then 
gives three examples — alms-giving, fasting and praying — to illustrate the 
general principle. He first gives two cautions, then two counsels. 

2. doest . . • alms, do not sound a trumpet] The scribes, like the 
Moslems and Roman Catholics of now, held that alms-giving was meritorious 
before God. The rabbins said, " For one farthing given to the poor, a man 
will gain heaven." The names of large givers to the poor were announced 
in the synagogue. The religion of that day was ostentatious, for display. 
Jesus unmasks this pharisaical "acting" in religion by setting over against 
it the spirit of true worship. When thou givest alms do not " trumpet the 
fact before thee," as the hypocrites, literally the " actors," do in the syna- 
gogues and in the streets. There is no clear evidence that the Pharisees 
actually sounded a trumpet to announce their alms, either in the synagogue 
or in the street, though the latter custom is not uncommon now in some parts 



Common Version. 

CHAP. VI. — Take heed that ye do not your 
alms before men, to be seen of them: 
otherwise ye have no reward of your Father 
which is in heaven. 

2 Therefore when thou doest thine alms, 
do not sound a trumpet before thee, as the 
hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the 
streets, that they may have glory of men. 
Verily I say unto you, They have their re- 
ward. 



Revised Version. 

Take heed that ye do not your right- 
eousness before men, to be seen of them: 
else ye have no reward with your Father 
who is in heaven. 

2 When therefore thou doest alms, sound 
not a trumpet before thee, as the hypo- 
crites do in the synagogues and in the 
streets, that they may have glory of men. 
Verily I say unto you, They have received 



Matt. 6:3-5.] 



GIVING AND PRAYING. 



77 



of Egypt. Nor is it likely that this refers to the sound of the coin falling 
into a trumpet-shaped box. Nor is it strictly a mere figure of speech ; it is 
rather a dramatic illustration. Great men passing through the street often 
had a trumpet sounded to open a way for them through the crowd, and to 
warn the common people to do them proper homage. In giving, do not 
" trumpet " the act (so Alexander renders), do not imitate their love of ad- 
miration and display. Augustine likens those who boast of their good deeds 
to the foolish hen, who has no sooner laid her egg than, by her cackling, she 
calls some one to take it away. 

have their reward] They get all they seek — the admiration of men. 
They get no reward from God, for they aim at none. Do not be like them, 
is the first caution. 

3. let not thy left hand know] The precept is enforced by a graphic 
figure, drawn perhaps from a common practice of counting out money from 
the right hand into the left. Let your method of giving be great secrecy, 
the opposite of display. Give with such modesty, secrecy and silent quietness 
that not even the left hand will know what the right hand is doing. There 
is an Oriental proverb, " If thou doest any good cast it into the sea ; if the 
fish know it not, the Lord knows it." The hypocrites sought the praise of 
men in giving, as in all their devotions ; they got it, but they missed gaining 
the praise of God. 

4. reward thee openly] Or, "recompense" thee; for the thought is 
of repayment rather than of reward. The Revised Version omits " openly," 
as it is not in many older Greek texts. Giving, which some think must be 
known to gain due credit for it, the Lord says must be done in the spirit of 
secrecy, not display, to gain due recognition of the Father. He sees in secret ; 
for he is the ever-present Being, and he will repay, or, literally, " will give 
over" or "give back to thee," to the full. 

5. when thou prayest, thou shalt not he as the hypocrites] The 
hypocrite, "the pretender" or "actor" in religion, loves to pray where he 
can be seen. It is so now in the East. The Moslems break oflf a bargain or 
talk to say prayers, all the while, it may be, glancing about to see what is 
going on. The prayers said, they plunge into bargains, cheating, lying or 
conversation again with the same zest and worldliness. The Jews usually 
say prayers standing, with head bowed and eyes upon the ground. The rab- 
bins say, " In prayer the head must be covered and the eyes cast down." 
Again, " The disciple of the wise looks down when he stands to pray." " If 



Common Version. 

3 But when thou doest alms, let not thy 
left hand know what thy right hand doeth : 

4 That thine alms may be in secret: and 
thy Father which seeth in secret himself 
shall reward thee* openly. 

5 ^ And when thou prayest, thou shalt not 
be as the hypocrites are: for they love to 
pray standing in the synagogues and in the 
corners of the streets, that they may be seen 
of men. Verily I say unto you, They have 
their reward. 



Revised Version. 

3 their reward. But when thou doest alms, 
let not thy left hand know what thy right 

4 hand doeth: that thine alms may be in 
secret : and thy Father who seeth in se- 
cret shall recompense thee. 

5 And when ye pray, ye shall not be as 
the hypocrites : for they love to stand and 
pray in the synagogues and in the corners 
of the streets, that they may be seen of 
men. Verily I say unto you, They have 



78 



A COMMENTARY ON THE GOSPEL OF MATTHEW. [Matt. 6 : 6-8. 



a man prays in the temple he looks toward the holy of holies ; if elsewhere, 
he looks toward Jerusalem." So Maimonides and the Mishna direct. 

6. enter into thy closet] The Greek word for " closet " means " store- 
room." It was not unusual for the apostles to retire to the housetop to pray. 
Acts 10 : 9. The " closet," or " inner chamber," is a small room within a 
room. This well represents the opposite of display, the idea of secrecy, 
which Jesus emphasized. Yet one may be so ostentatious in seeking and 
coming from a secret place of prayer as completely to destroy the pretended 
secrecy, and thus annul the rule Jesus lays down. The point of the teaching 
is, you are not to play the " actor " in prayer, but from the heart sincerely 
offer your prayers to God alone. Some ministers make serious mistakes in 
this line, perhaps from lack of due thought. Said a reporter once, of such 

an exercise on a public occasion, " The Rev. Dr. uttered the most 

eloquent prayer ever offered to a public assembly/" Prayers in public ought 
to be so framed in word and spirit that even a worldly-minded reporter 
would feel that they were offered to God and not to the audience. 

7. use not vain repetitions] The original suggests "babbling" or 
" stammering," and so repeating syllables, or words, in speaking. In the 
East and West this habit in prayer widely prevails. The howling dervishes 
of the East will yell "Allah," "Allah," "Allah" (their word for God) for an 
hour, without any praise or petition. So Baal's priests cried for many hours, 
"O Baal, hear us," "O Baal, hear us." 1 Kings 18 : 26. So the Roman 
Catholic " Rosary of the Virgin " notes : " Our Father," etc. (once), " Hail, 
Mary," etc. (ten times), calling on the devout Romanist to repeat these words 
ten times; and phrases in the "Rosary of Jesus" are to be repeated an equal 
number of times. The rabbins held that he who multiplied his prayers was 
sure to be heard. That the heathen of the most cultured nations were given 
to "vain repetitions" in prayer we see from the Greek poet ^Eschylus, who, 
in one place, has nearly a hundred verses filled with a repetition of the same 
invocation to the gods. 

*8. for your Father knoweth] The object of prayer is not to inform 
God of our wants. It may, then, be asked, Why pray ? Believers pray — 
1, to own their need of God ; 2, their dependence on him ; 3, to plead his 
promises ; 4, to show their belief that he will supply their needs ; 5, to pre- 
pare their hearts to receive his blessings. Vain repetitions would in no wise 
further either of these ends. " Prayer is not designed to inform God, but to 



Common Version. 

6 But thou, when thou prayest, enter into 
thy closet, and when thou hast shut thy door, 
pray to thy Father which is in secret ; and 
thy Father which seeth in secret shall re- 
ward thee openly. 

7 But when ye pray, use not vain repeti- 
tions, as the heathen do : for they think that 
they shall be heard for their much speaking. 

8 Be not ye therefore like unto thein : for 
your Father knoweth what things ye have 
need of, before ye ask him. 



Revised Version. 

6 received their reward. But thou, when 
thou prayest, enter into thine inner 
chamber, and having shut thy door, pray 
to thy Father who is in secret, and thy 
Father who seeth in secret shall recom- 

7 pense thee. And in praying use not vain 
repetitions, as the Gentiles do: for they 
think that they shall be heard for their 

8 much speaking. Be not therefore like 
unto them : for * your Father knoweth 
what things ye have need of, before ye 



Some ancient authorities read God your Father. 



Matt. 6 : 9, 10.] 



THE LORD'S PRAYER. 



79 



give man a sight of his misery, to humble his heart, to excite his desire, to 
inflame his faith, to animate his hope, to raise his soul from earth to heaven, 
and to put him in mind that there is his Father, his country and his inherit- 
ance." — Quesnel. 

9. After this manner, or "thus"] Jesus gives a pattern or specimen 
of true prayer. Thus it was understood by nearly all the early fathers and 
by the majority of evangelical Christians. Some hold that he gave this as 
a formula always to be used. Others say this is against his teaching in v. 7 ; 
and that he did not make the use of this particular form obligatory on his 
followers. There is no historical evidence, so far as known, that it was used 
as a formula of prayer by the apostles themselves. It is to be accepted as a 
proper mode of prayer, and it may be used in the worship of God privately 
or publicly, but always and only in accord with the principle already de- 
clared by Jesus — not to use display or vain repetitions in praying. 

The Lord's Prayer. 

Our Father] " The Lord's Prayer," so called because the Lord gave it 
as a pattern, might more accurately be called " The Model Prayer." It is 
usually divided into three parts: 1, preface; 2, petitions; 3, conclusion. 
The Latin fathers and the Lutheran Church make the number of the peti- 
tions seven. The Greek and Reformed Churches and the Westminster divines 
make the number six, by making only one petition of the first part of v. 13, 
while the others divide it into two petitions. The works written on this 
"Model Prayer" would make an immense library. The Preface is literally 
"Father of us, who art in the heavens;" "our," not my, implying the brother- 
hood of the human race, especially of believers. The " fatherhood of God " 
was an old thought in the Jewish worship. It seems a common thought of 
the race. The Vedas of India, the Zend-Avesta of Persia, Greek literature, 
as Plato and Plutarch, and the older Baal worship, have the same idea. It 
seems to be a relic of God's earliest revelation of himself in patriarchal 
times. But Jesus brings it into a new form and touches it with a new life. 

First Petition. Hallowed be thy name] That is, help us and others to 
revere, hallow, sanctify and make holy God's name and being. Reverence 
lies at the foundation of all true prayer. 

10. Second Petition. Thy kingdom come] This asks that God's king- 
dom may come into the hearts of its subjects on earth as completely as it 
reigns in the hearts of the hosts of heavenly beings. Satan's kingdom will 
to that extent be overcome and Messiah become the universal King. 

Third Petition. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven] A pe- 
tition that God's will may be done as perfectly in us and in all others on the 
earth as it is by the angels in heaven. It implies that we readily and cheer- 



Common Version. 

9 After this manner therefore pray ye: 
Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed 
be thy name. 

10 Thy kingdom oome. Thy will be done 
in earth, as it is in heaven. 



Revised Version. 

9 ask him. After this manner therefore 

pray ye : Our Father who art in heaven, 

10 Hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom 

come. Thy will be done, as in heaven, 



80 



A COMMENTARY ON THE GOSPEL OF MATTHEW. [Matt. 6: 11-13. 



fully submit ourselves to all his providential dealings with us, to his disci- 
pline of us, and to his holy and wise training of us into conformity to his 
image and character. 

11. Fourth Petition. Give us this day our daily bread] This petition 
has puzzled critical scholars, chiefly because the word for " daily " is unknown 
elsewhere in sacred or classical Greek. It occurs only here and in the par- 
allel text, Luke 11 : 3. The chief explanations are : give us this day, 
1, bread for the present day, the day just beginning ; or, 2, bread for to- 
morrow ; or, 3, bread of subsistence. Explanation two fails to express the 
thought In Luke, " day by day," and seems inconsistent with the first part 
of the clause in the petition. Of the other explanations the first is prefer- 
able, and the one naturally accepted by the common reader of our English 
version. The primary thought is also " bread" for the body ; " bread" being 
put in the East for food in the general sense. Yet the idea of spiritual 
bread is not to be excluded from the petition. 

12. Fifth Petition. And forgive us our debts, as we forgive (or "have 
forgiven") our debtors] "Forgiven" has elsewhere the force of "sent" 
or " put away," and " debts" are our sins. All our failures in duty are debts 
due to God. But to gain this " putting away " of our debts to God, we must 
have " put away " our debts against man, or forgiven our debtors — all who 
have done wrong toward us. If we have an unforgiving spirit we cannot 
expect an answer to this petition ; nay, we cannot truly pray this prayer. 
This is in harmony with the teaching in the earlier part of the discourse. 
Matt. 5 : 23, 24. 

13. Sixth Petition. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us 
from evil] God does not "tempt" any one, in the sense of inducing him 
to sin. The old sense of the word (as of the Greek) is " to test," " to put to 
trial." God tests our faith, he puts us to trial, to prove and to strengthen 
our characters and to develop our Christian life. He may lead us, as the 
Holy Spirit led our Master, where the devil or his servants, or even where 
our own imperfect hearts, may tempt us to sin. But God's purpose is not sin 
but holiness in us. We may well shrink from having God test us, and pray 
not to be exposed to temptation. And so the other member of this petition, 
connected by "but" and showing the antithesis, falls in harmoniously to 
make one petition. We pray not to be "led" into temptation. We are 
never to go voluntarily into temptation, for that is the sin of presumption. 
But suppose we are thus "led" by something outside of ourselves? Then 
we ask God to deliver us from evil, or, according to another reading, " the 
evil one." See Revised Version. The Greek will admit of either reading. 



Common Version. 

11 Give us this day our daily bread. 

12 And forgive us our debts, as we forgive 
our debtors. 

13 And lead us not into temptation, but de- 
liver us from evil: For thine is the king- 
dom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. 
Amen. 



Revised Version. 

11 so on earth. Give us this day 1 our daily 

12 bread. And forgive us our debts, as we 

13 also have forgiven our debtors. And 
bring us not into temptation, but deliver 



1 Gr. our bread/or the coming day, or, our needful bread. 



Matt. 6:11-16.] PIETY WITHOUT DISPLAY, OK HEAVENLY-M1KDEDNES8. 81 

But the neuter "evil" gives a profounder sense, for it includes "the evil 
one," Satan, and all forms of evil. 

Conclusion. For thine is the kingdom, etc.] This doxology, which is 
omitted in the Revised Version, seems a not inappropriate conclusion to the 
prayer, and is of great antiquity. It is not found in the oldest written copies 
of the Scriptures, nor in the writings of the earliest Latin fathers in the 
Church, and even the Greek commentators pass it in silence. It is found, 
however, in the oldest extant versions of this Gospel, as in the Syriac 
Peshito, Sahidic and Thebaic versions ; but its presence there, and its ab- 
sence in what are called the " best manuscripts" in Greek, cannot be satis- 
factorily explained until we have more light on the early history of the 
Church. The English, Greek and Gallican Churches alike retain it in their 
forms of worship. The doxology corresponds closely to a common Jewish 
ascription. 

14, 15. For ... if ye forgive not] Lest some dull hearer should 
misunderstand the petition about forgiveness it is repeated, and more par- 
ticularly and fully stated. Repentance is necessary to forgiveness, but re- 
pentance implies a forgiving spirit ; so this is one of God's eternal prin- 
ciples — forgive as you would be forgiven. 

Suggestive Applications. — 1. Genuine piety is in the heart ; spurious 
piety is on the outside only. 2. Spiritual pride and spiritual vanity go 
together. 3. The false professor is only a " religious actor," a hypocrite. 
4. He usually gains what he seeks — the praise of men. 5. " When we take 
least notice of our good deeds, God takes most notice of them." — Henry. 
6. It is not so much publicity as display that makes our prayers valueless 
before God. 7. Giving and praying to be seen of men is " religious play- 
acting," not religion. 8. Not the number nor the length of our prayers, 
but their character, God regards. 9. Long prayers, if true prayers, are not 
condemned, for Jesus was all night in prayer. 10. Prayer is the telephone 
that enables us to speak into God's ear. 11. Give and forgive — the constant 
cry of man : " One is the cry of want, the other of guilt." — W. R. Williams. 
12. If we are unforgiving, we shall be unforgiven. 

Piety without Display, or Heavenly-mindedness. vs. 16-23. 

16. when ye fast] Jesus had given two examples illustrating the prin- 
ciple that righteousness or religion must be without ostentation. He now 



Common Version. 

14 For if ye forgive men their trespasses, 
your heavenly Father will also forgive you : 

15 But if ye forgive not men their tres- 
passes, neither will your Father forgive your 
trespasses. 

16 fl Moreover when ye fast, he not, as the 
hypocrites, of a sad countenance: for they 
disfigure their faces, that they may appear 
unto men to fast. Verily I say unto you, 
They have their reward. 



Revised Version. 

14 us from l the evil one. 2 For if ye forgive 
men their trespasses, your heavenly Fa- 

15 ther will also forgive you. But if ye for- 
give not men their trespasses, neither 
will your Father forgive your trespasses. 

16 Moreover when ye fast, be not, as the 
hypocrites, of a sad countenance: for 
they disfigure their faces, that they may 
be seen of men to fast. Verily I say unto 
you, They have received their reward. 



1 Or, evil 2 Many authorities, some ancient, but with variations, add For thine is the king*, 
dom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen. 

6 



82 



A COMMENTARY ON THE GOSPEL OF MATTHEW. [Matt. 6 : 17-2Z 



gives a third example under fasting. Fasting in private or public was to be 
done, like alms-giving and praying, without display. Believers are not to 
be like hypocrites or "actors," of a doleful countenance, disfiguring their 
faces to be seen of men to fast. In the original there is a play here upon 
words which cannot well be put in English. " Disfigure " and " appear " 
are represented by the same root-word. The English reader would get a 
little idea of it if w r e say " their faces they make to disappear, that they may 
appear ;" that is, they conceal their faces, the more plainly to make them 
appear to be fasting. 

17. when thou fastest, anoint • . • wash] An Asiatic going to a feast 
would anoint his head and wash his face. So Jesus w T ould have us keep our 
fasts before God, but appear as usual before men. Luther has the true idea : 
" If thou fastest between thyself and thy Father alone so that it pleases him, 
thou hast rightly fasted. Ceremony for the sake of applause and to hood- 
wink people with a holy demeanor is to be rejected." God who sees secret 
acts and secret thoughts will reward such service in fasting, as Jesus had 
declared already that he would reward alms-giving and praying. 

19. Lay not up for yourselves treasures] From laying up good 
works as treasures, Jesus naturally turns now to speak of hoarding any kind 
of earthly treasures. Riches, in the East, consisted chiefly in costly apparel, 
jewels, gold and silver, and flocks and herds. The apparel would be con- 
sumed by moths and the metals by rust, and all would be liable to be stolen 
by thieves. The thought is, lay not up treasures that perish — be not a miser. 

20, 21. treasures in heaven] What these heavenly treasures were 
Jesus had just been stating, and these riches could neither be eaten by moth 
or rust nor stolen by robbers. And the reason for this counsel is that where 
the treasure is the heart will be. What a man seeks with all his soul will 
carry his soul with it. Judas had his treasure in his bag ; Lot's wife had 
hers in Sodom ; neither had a heart for heaven, but only for this world. 

22. The light of the body is the eye] Literally, " the lamp of the 
body is the eye." The eye is the only organ of the body which can take in 



Common Version. 

17 But thou, when thou fastest, anoint 
thine head, and wash thy face ; 

18 That thou appear not unto men to fast, 
hut unto thy Father which is in secret ; and 
thy Father which seeth in secret shall re- 
ward thee openly. 

19 f Lay not up for yourselves treasures 
upon earth, where moth and rust doth cor- 
rupt, and where thieves break through and 
steal : 

20 But lay up for yourselves treasures in 
heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth 
corrupt, and where thieves do not break 
through nor steal : 

21 For where your treasure is, there will 
your heart be also. 

22 The light of the body is the eye: if 
therefore thine eye be single, thy whole body 
shall be full of light. 



Revised Version. 

17 But thou, when thou fastest, anoint thy 

18 head, and wash thy face; that thou be 
not seen of men to fast, but of thy Father 
who is in secret: and thy Father, who 
seeth in secret, shall recompense thee. 

19 Lay not up for yourselves treasures 
upon the earth, where moth and rust 
doth consume, and where thieves * break 

20 through and steal : but lay up for your- 
selves treasures in heaven, where neither 
moth nor rust doth consume, and where 
thieves do not a break through nor steal : 

21 for where thy treasure is, there will thy 

22 heart be also. The lamp of the body is 
the eye : if therefore thine eye be single, 
thy whole body shall be full of light. 



1 Gr. dig through. 



Matt. 6 : 23-25.] 



THE HEAVENLY FATHER'S CARE. 



83 



the light; if this organ be "single," that is, devoted to this work alone, 
taking in the light, then the body will be full of light. 

23. if thine eye be evil.] If the eye fails to perform its proper office, 
the body is in darkness, and how great that darkness ! There is no possi- 
bility of light when the eye is helpless or destroyed. It is only a trifle bet- 
ter when it gives a distorted or perverted view of all objects. 

Suggestive Applications. — 1. A sour face is no part of a religious 
fast ; it may be a cloak of hypocrisy. 2. Fasting is humbling the soul ; see 
Isa. 58 : 5. 3. Worldly-mindedness is as fatal a sin as hypocrisy. 4. To 
whatever treasures a man gives all his mind, those he makes his god. 5. 
There are treasures in heaven as surely as treasures on earth. 6. Earthly 
treasures are shadowy and fleeting ; heavenly treasures are substantial and 
abiding. 7. The single eye helps us to hit the mark we aim at •, the double 
eye misses it. 

The Heavenly Father's Care. vs. 24-34. 

24. No man can serve two masters] After saying that one must not 
hoard treasures of this world, Jesus next declared that one cannot have two 
objects, or, literally, be a slave to two masters. A free man might render 
such service, but here it refers to a slave. No man can be a slave to two 
masters, for a slave must render entire obedience, and the claims of masters 
will conflict. For it does not contemplate two partners, but two distinct mas- 
ters, and none can render obedience to two conflicting orders at the same 
time. So we cannot serve God and mammon — mammon being an Aramaic 
word for wealth or riches, which are personified here. Thus Milton repre- 
sents Mammon as one of the lost spirits. " Paradise Lost," bk. 2, 1. 228. 

25. Take no thought] or, " Be not anxious for," as in the Kevised Ver' 
sion. The point is, do not spend your energies in getting wealth or in hoard- 
ing things for to-morrow. Do not even worry about your bread and butter, 
nor how you shall be clothed, nor where you shall live. Anxiety for this life 
is needless ; anxiety for the life to come is needful. This does not mean to 
favor idleness and prevent industry, but only to prevent distraction of mind 
from God's service. 

Is not the life more] The meaning is, cannot God, who has given you 
life, be trusted to give food to sustain that life? For life is greater than 
food or raiment. This refers primarily to physical life ; but the thought of 



Common Version. 

23 But if thine eye be evil, thy whole body 
shall be full of darkness. If therefore the 
light that is in thee be darkness, how great 
is that darkness ! 

24 fl No man can serve two masters: for 
either he will hate the one, and love the 
other; or else he will hold to the one, and 
despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and 
mammon. 

25 Therefore I say unto you, Take no 
thought for your life, what ye shall eat, or 
what ye shall drink ; nor yet for your body, 
what ye shall put on. Is not the life more 
than meat, and the body than raiment ? 



Revised Version. 

23 But if thine eye be evil, thy whole body 
shall be full of darkness. If therefore 
the light that is in thee be darkness, how 

24 great is the darkness ! No man can serve 
two masters: for either he will hate the 
one, and love the other; or else he will 
hold to one, and despise the other. Ye 

25 cannot serve God and mammon. There- 
fore I say unto you, Be not anxious for 
your life, what ye shall eat, or what ye 
shall drink ; nor yet for your body, what 
ye shall put on. Is not the life more 
than the food, and the body than the rai« 



A COMMENTARY ON THE GOSPEL OF MATTHEW. [Matt. 6 : 26-23. 



spiritual life and spiritual food must not be overlooked. The Jews had a 
proverb, " Every one who has a loaf in his basket, and says, ' What shall I 
eat to-morrow ?' is of little faith." But this teaching of Jesus goes far deeper 
than this proverb. 

26. Behold the fowls] or "birds." Jesus now gives a particular illus- 
tration of the principle he has laid down. The birds are very numerous in 
Palestine. They flock about human dwellings. Sparrows, swallows and 
kites seek the abodes of men. Crows, ravens and vultures frequent the 
fields ; the latter are thieves and scavengers ; they store no food for them- 
selves ; their living seems the most precarious possible, yet they are fed. 
And if God feeds them, will he not feed man, whom he has made in his own 
image ? 

27. Which of you . • • can add one cubit] A boy cannot make himself 
grow by thinking about it. Or, a short man was Tp'nrqxvg, three cubits ; a tall 
man, rerpd'Kijxvg-, four cubits; which may have suggested the question. The 
Greek word rendered" stature" is applied to the increase of Jesus in "wis- 
dom and stature," and to the size of Zacchaeus, " little of stature," Luke 2 : 52 ; 
12: 25; and to the perfection of the believer, " of the stature of the fulness of 
Christ," Eph. 4 : 13. The Greek may apply to " age " as well as to " stature." 
It is also used in speaking of the blind man, "he is of age," John 9 : 
21-23 ; and of Sarah, " when she was past age," Heb. 11 : 11. Some suppose 
that here our Lord meant " one cubit to his age," that is, no one by thought 
could prolong his life. Yet by thought and due attention to the laws of 
health, one may be said and is said to prolong his life. To suppose the ad- 
dition of a " cubit to one's age " also seems a needless confusion of thought 
in the figure, and the rendering of the Common and of the English Revised 
Versions is to be preferred. The reading of the American revisers, " the 
measure of his life," avoids the confused figure, but is a gloss or a paraphrase 
rather than a translation of the original. See Ps. 39 : 5. 

28. Consider the lilies] Having drawn an illustration respecting food 
from the birds, he now draws one respecting clothing from the lilies and the 
grass. Exactly what flowers are meant by lilies cannot be determined, nor 
is it important. Dr. Post says there are several varieties of flowers coming 
under this general name of lilies, such as " tulipa oculi-solis, gladiolus, 
illyricus, various species of iris, many gay and beautiful colchicums and 
crocuses." God clothes these flowers, and they are better arrayed than was 
Solomon in all his riches and glory. Why then should a child of the heav- 
enly kingdom be anxious about his raiment ? And this question was asked 



Common Version. 

26 Behold the fowls of the air: for they 
sow not, neither do they reap, nor gather 
into harns ; yet your heavenly Father feed- 
eth them. Are ye not much better than they? 

27 Which of you by taking thought can 
add one cubit unto his stature ? 

28 And why take ye thought for raiment? 
Considor the lilies of the field, how they 
grow ; they toil not, neither do they spin : 



Revised Version. 

26 ment? Behold the birds of the heaven, 
that they sow not, neither do they reap, 
nor gather into barns ; and your heaven- 
ly Father feedeth them. Are not ye of 

27 much more value than they? And which 
of you by being anxious can add one cubit 

28 unto * the measure of his life ? And why 
are ye anxious concerning raiment ? Con- 
sider the lilies of the field, how they grow ; 



1 Or, his stature 



Matt. 6 : 29-34.] THE HEAVENLY FATHER'S CAKE. 85 

of a people who counted their garments with their money, as a part of their 
wealth. With how much more force might the question be asked of us ? 

30. if God so clothe the grass of the field] Or, of the open country. 
It does not usually refer to fenced "fields," for those are rarely, if ever, seen in 
the East. Baking is done in a kind of earthen pot narrowing from the bottom 
upward. Dried grass and other fuel were put inside so as to heat the walls, 
and then the dough was put on the outside of the heated jar-like oven and 
baked at once. Sometimes the oven is a conical -shaped hole in the ground 
plastered with clay. The grass, coarse flowers and weeds were beautiful 
to-day and burned to-morrow, though more beautifully clothed than Solomon 
himself. If God so care for and adorn the grass, how much more will he 
care for us I Do not then worry, but trust him. 

31. What shall we eat 2] Seeking and worrying for what we shall eat 
and drink and wear, is to put the needs of the body before the deeper needs 
of the soul. Jesus shows that in having such worry and care for food and 
clothing the Pharisees were doing just as the Gentiles, with no higher aims 
and no loftier spirit. 

32. your heavenly Father knoweth] To worry with anxious thought 
about our food is to distrust God. Distrust and worldliness are heathenish. 
God's people are not to be like heathen, for God knows that we have need of 
these things. They are to be industrious and prudent, and then to trust God. 

33. seek ye first the kingdom of God] or "his kingdom." We are not 
only to seek this kingdom first, in order of time, but it is to be uppermost in 
our thoughts all the time. We are not merely to seek the present, but the 
spiritual ; not this life, but the other, is to be foremost in the thoughts of men. 

34. Take therefore no thought for the morrow] or, " Be not therefore 
anxious for the morrow." See Revised Version. The morrow will bring its 
own cares, and the work of to-day is enough for this day. Trust God for the 
future. Do not borrow trouble. Do not cross a bridge till you get to it. 
The wisdom of this world echoes the same truth, but bases it upon entirely 
different ground, and urges it for a totally different reason, and urges it for 
a totally different end. Carpe diem, "seize to-day" — make the most of now — 



Common Version. 

29 And yet I say unto you, That even Solo- 
mon in all his glory was not arrayed like 
one of these. 

30 Wherefore, if God so clothe the grass of 
the field, which to day is, and to morrow is 
cast into the oven, .shall he not much more 
clothe you, O ye of little faith ? 

31 Therefore take no thought, saying, 
AVhat shall we eat? or, What shall we drink, 
or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed? 

32 (For after all these things do the Gen- 
tiles seek:) for your heavenly Father know- 
eth that ye have need of all these things. 

33 But seek ye first the kingdom of God, 



Revised Version. 

29 they toil not- neither do they spin : yet I 
say unto you, that even Solomon in all 
his glory was not arrayed like one of 

30 these. But if God doth so clothe the 
grass of the field, which to-day is, and to- 
morrow is cast into the oven, shall he not 
much more clothe you, ye of little faith ? 

31 Be not therefore anxious, saying, What 
shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? 

32 or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed? For 
after all these things do the Gentiles seek ; 
for your heavenly Father knoweth that 

33 ye have need of all these things. But 
seek ye first his kingdom, and his right- 



aud his righteousness; and all these things ! eousness; and all these things shall be 
shall be added unto you. i 34 added unto you. Be not therefore anx- 

34 Take therefore no thought for the mor- j ions for the morrow : for the morrow 
row: for the morrow shall take thought for will be anxious for itself. Sufficient unto 

the things of itself. Sufficient unto the day the day is the evil thereof. 
m the evil thereof. | 



86 A COMMENTARY ON THE GOSPEL OF MATTHEW. [Matt. 7 : 1. 

is the ancient proverb, but it meant Epicurean self-indulgence. Anxious 
thought brings possible evils of to-morrow as a burden for to-day. They 
may never become real evils, and if they do, we bear them to-day in im- 
agination and to-morrow in reality, and thus carry two burdens where God 
calls us to carry only one. The rabbins had a proverb, " Care not for the 
morrow, for ye know not what a day may bring forth. Possibly on the mor- 
row he will not be, and have been found caring for a world which is not his." 
Suggestive Applications. — 1. If no man can serve two masters, much 
less can he serve two gods. 2. God says, be content with such things as ye 
have ; mammon says, grasp all you can. God says, defraud not, lie not, be 
honest ; mammon says, cheat anybody if you can gain by it. God says, be 
benevolent ; mammon says, be miserly ; this giving makes you poor. God 
says, be unselfish — love your neighbor as yourself; mammon says, take care 
of yourself first, and look out for " number one." 3. " A man's life is a greater 
blessing than his livelihood." — Henry. 4. God bestows life, the greater 
blessing ; he will give food and raiment, the lesser blessing, to the prudent 
that serve him. 5. Fine clothing is like the beauty of the grass, it may be 
burned to-morrow. 6. " Knowledge and grace are the perfection of man, not 
beauty, much less clothes." — Henry. 7. God and religion are the principal 
concern of man on earth. 8. Concern for our soul is the best cure for 
concern about the things of this life. 9. We need not pile up evils borrowed 
from to-morrow upon to-day ; to-morrow may not be ours, or may bring no 
evils with it. 

Chap. VII. Of Censure and of the Way into the Kingdom. 

vs. 1-14. 
Horns or Hattin (?), a.d. 28. 

The connection between the counsel with which this chapter opens and 
that which has gone before has puzzled many critics. The order of thought 
seems to follow the law of natural association, on which the whole sermon is 
constructed. Those who are worrying over themselves and how they are to 
get food and clothing are apt to be severe and censorious in their judgment 
of others. This is true also of those who grow formal, narrow and selfish in 
their religious life. At last it takes on two extremes, great severity and 
great laxity of judgment. If not of their way, severity ; if of their way or 
church, laxity. Witness the awful terrors of the Roman Inquisition, and 
the shameful practice of selling indulgences, as historic examples. This is 
consistent also with the conjecture that some Pharisees in the audience 
sneered at the previous teaching of the discourse, and Jesus takes this mode 
of reproving them. 

1. Judge not] Censorious and wrong judgments are characteristics of 
the East, but not of there only. We are not to judge — 1, wrongly ; 2, cen- 
soriously; 3, needlessly. This is not against — 1, proper official judgments, 



Common Version. 



Revised Version. 



CHAP. VII.— Judge not, that ye be not 7 Judge not, that ye be not judged. For 
judged. I with what judgement ye judge, ye shall b» 



Matt. 7 : 2-6.] OF CENSURE AND OF THE WAY INTO THE KINGDOM. 



87 



but is opposed to officious ones ; 2, right opinions of others, but is opposed to 
uncharitable opinions. It forbids all needless, arbitrary, blind or exag- 
gerated judgment or fault-finding respecting our neighbor. 

2. For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged] This 
may have a double meaning. Perhaps it was meant to have a double appli- 
cation. It resembles the old law of "an eye for an eye," referred to in 
chap. 5 : 38. It would then mean, the world will act on this rule ; you judge 
others harshly, they will judge you severely. It may refer also to the cen- 
sorious spirit as contrary to the law of love, and which will be condemned 
when God enters into judgment with us. " Truth and equity are elastic ; 
and in the moral order of things, an unjust blow will recoil on him who has 
dealt it." — Lange. The Talmud has a similar proverb. 

4# Let me pull out the mote] The Greek word for " mote " does not 
apply to the small particles of dust floating in the air, as Meyer has justly 
shown, but to the bits of twigs and sticks that birds use to build into their 
nests. We are slower to see our greatest sins than our neighbor's smallest 
ones, and are forward enough in pointing out his motes and in offering to 
pull them out. The smallest blemish in another we quickly discover ; to 
the mammoth faults in ourselves we are blind. One may have a powerful 
microscope on his neighbor's short-comings, and officiously propose to pick 
out each particular one, which his censorious sight magnifies about a thou- 
sand diameters. But seldom do we see our own faults, though they are as 
painfully conspicuous as a beam in our eye. The case is not represented as 
a real but an ideal one. The first reform is self-reform. If you wish to be a 
religious reformer, begin with your own sins. Paul counted himself the 
chief of sinners ; the Athenians he charitably called " too superstitious," 
that is, " too religious," not too wicked, idolaters. " While we are blind 
with self-deceit, we are but bunglers in dealing with the faults of others." — 
Plumptre. The rabbins had a similar proverb relating to reproof: "If one 
said, ' Take the mote out of thine eye,' he would answer, ' Take the beam 
from out thine own eye.' " Similar expressions occur in several passages of 
the Talmud, showing that it was a common proverb. 

6. Give not that which is holy unto the dogs] The opposite of cen- 



Common Version. 

2 For with what judgment ye judge, ye 
shall be judged: and with what measure ye 
mete, it shall be measured to you again. 

3 And why beholdest thou the mote that 
is in thy brother's eye, but considerest not 
the beam that is in thine own eye? 

4 Or how wilt thou say to thy brother, Let 
me pull out the mote out of thine eye ; and, 
behold, a beam is in thine own eye? 

5 Thou hypocrite, first cast out the beam 
out of thine own eye; and then shalt thou 
see clearly to cast out the mote out of thy 
brother's eye. 

(*) f Give not that which is holy unto the 
dogs, neither cast ye your pearls before 
swine, lest they trample them uuder their 
feet, and turn again and rend you. 



Revised Version. 

judged : and with what measure ye mete, 
3 it shall be measured unto you. And why 
beholdest thou the mote that is in thy 
brother's eye, but considerest not the 
beam that is in thine own eye? Or how 
wilt thou say to thy brother, Let me cast 
out the mote out of thine eye ; and lo, the 

5 beam is in thine own eye? Thou hypo- 
crite, cast out first the beam out of thine 
own eye •, and then shalt thou see clearly 
to cast out the mote out of thy brother's 
eye. 

6 Give not that which is holy unto the 
dogs, neither cast your pearls before the 
swine, lest haply they trample them un- 
der their feet, and turn and rend you. 



88 



A COMMENTARY ON THE GOSPEL OF MATTHEW. [Matt. 7 : 7-10. 



soriousness is laxity of opinion — utter indifference to what a man is, what 
he believes, or what his character may be. The Romanists compounded 
sins, and made repentance and godly living null by indulgences ; so other 
errorists now weaken or destroy saving truths by loose views on probation, 
future punishment and the finished work of Christ for believers. The illus- 
tration may be drawn from a supposed casting of sacrificial meal to the wild 
Syrian dogs, the scavengers of the streets, though Meyer strongly contends 
against this view. The dogs in the East are without owners, run wild in the 
streets, are filthy, snarling, vile creatures, living upon the garbage. They 
go in clans, and will drive off or kill any dog of another clan that trespasses 
upon their " preserves." 

neither cast ye your pearls before swine] Swine, like dogs, were un- 
clean animals under Jewish law. Swine, in their hoggish nature, seek only 
to gorge themselves with food. Pearls might look like peas or beans. The 
hogs would only be enraged " at finding what they took for grain was only 
pearls." Then, too, swine abuse precious things as pearls. Trampling them 
under foot they would rend the giver. So the holiest truth is not to be 
offered to scoffers, for they will swinishly trample on it. See Prov. 9:7, 8. 
The wise sayings of Eastern sages were called " pearls " of wisdom. 

7. Ask, • • • seek, • • • knock] How to enter the kingdom, : 1. By prayer, 
seeking, knocking. 2. By obedience, vs. 12-14. Having forbidden the harsh 
and the loose opinions which spring from a selfish, care-burdened worldly 
mind, Jesus now reverts to the thought in chap. 6 : 34. You are not to have 
this anxious care about worldly things, nor about the future, nor even about 
spiritual needs. Then how are we to get all these? Jesus tells us: ask, 
seek, knock. Here are three figures intended to set forth the steadily-in- 
creasing intensity of our prayers to God. Those who ask receive ; those 
who seek find ; to those who knock the gate is opened. This is true with 
men. How much more will it be true in our intercourse with God ! 

9, 10. bread, • . . stone, . . . fish, • . . serpent] An illustration from 
common life enforces the commands of v. 7. An earthly father will not deceive 
his son. The " loaf" or flat cake of the East might resemble a round flat 
stone, as some fish, eels for example, do serpents. But no father would thus 
trifle with a son wanting food. Bad then as you are, if you know how to give 
good gifts, how much more will the infinitely holy and good God give good 
things, temporal and spiritual — to whom ? Not to swinish men or moral curs, 
who do not want them, and would only trample on them and turn and curse 
the giver, but to those that ask him for them. He may give temporal mer- 



Common Version. 

7 f Ask, and it shall be given you ; seek, 
and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be 
opened unto you : 

8 For every one that asketh receiveth ; and 
he that seeketh findeth; and to him that 
knoeketh it shall be opened. 

9 Or what man is there of you, whom if 
his son ask bread, will he give him a stone? 

10 Or if he ask a fish, will he give him a 
serpent? 



Revised Version. 

7 Ask, and it shall be given you ; seek, 
and ye shall find ; knock, and it shall be 

8 opened unto you : for every one that ask- 
eth receiveth ; and he that seeketh find- 
eth; and to him that knoeketh it shall 

9 be opened. Or what man is there of you. 
who, if his son shall ask him for a loaf, 

10 will give him a stone ; or if he shall ask 



Matt. 7 : 11-13.] OF CENSURE AND OF THE WAY INTO THE KINGDOM. 



89 



cies, as he does to the wicked, but they have no assurance and no promise of 
their continuance unless they become seekers for them. There is a curious 
illustration of these proverbs in the Talmud. In time of drought a rabbi 
urged the people to benevolent deeds. A man gave money to his divorced 
wife who was in want, and the rabbi used this deed as a plea in prayer, that 
much more should God care for the children of Abraham than this man for 
his divorced wife. It is said a plentiful rain followed ! 

12. Therefore all things] The golden rule. The second condition of 
entering the kingdom, obedience. The "therefore" points to the conclusion 
of the foregoing statements. The connection of the subjects in this section 
is obvious enough. Apply the golden rule to the successive points : you 
would be judged charitably, then do not censure others. You would not 
have your precious things or yourself treated with contempt, then do not 
expose the precious truths of God, or your holiest experiences of them, to be 
trampled upon by others. Be careful to treat holy things with reverence 
yourself. You would not expect an earthly father to give you, his son, a 
stone for bread or a serpent for fish. Much more then will your heavenly 
Father give you good things when you ask for them. Similar maxims 
in the negative form are found among heathen writers, before and since 
Christ's time. The rabbins said, "What is offensive to you, do not to another ; 
for this is the whole law." But they applied it only to Jews, not to Gen- 
tiles. It was only a reflection of " love thy neighbor and hate thine enemy." 
It was found in Socrates, B.C. 400, Menander, B.C. 275, and more explicitly 
in Confucius, B.C. 550. In the Doctrine of the Mean, Confucius says, " What 
you do not like, when done to yourself, do not do to others." Book i. 13 : 3. 
In his Analects he declares, " What you do not want done to yourself do not 
to another." Book xv. 3. This old Chinese teacher might profitably be 
studied in America, on the treatment of others, and especially of his country- 
men. The rule is also found in the apocryphal book of Tobit, 4: 15; and 
the Mosaic law declared, " Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself." Lev. 
19 : 18. Jesus alone gave this rule a positive form, made it universal as the 
race, showed its reasonableness, and, grandest of all, pointed out the relation 
between our duty to man and our duty to God, and declared that duty to God 
outranks all other moral and spiritual requirements. 

13. Enter ye in at the strait gate] There are two roads and two gates. 
In these the two kinds of religious people go. Those making no pretence to 



Common Version. 

11 If ye then, being evil, know how to give 
good gifts unto your children, how much 
more shall your Father which is in heaven 
give good things to them that ask him? 

12 Therefore all things whatsoever ye 
would that men should do to you, do ye 
even so to them : for this is the law and the 
prophets. 

18 f Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide 
is the gate, and broad is the way, that lead- 
eth to destruction, and many there he which 
go in thereat : 



} Some ancient authorities omit is the gatt. 



Revised Version. 

11 for a fish, will give him a serpent? If 
ye then, being evil, know how to give 
good gifts unto your children, how much 
more shall your Father who is in heaven 
give good things to them that ask him? 

12 All things therefore whatsoever ye would 
that men should do unto you, even so do 
ye also unto them: for this is the law 
and the prophets. 

13 Enter ye in by the narrow gate: for 
wide * is the gate, and broad is the way, 
that leadeth to destruction, and many 



90 A COMMENTARY ON THE GOSPEL OF MATTHEW. [Matt. 7 : 14-17. 

religion are not directly included. There are many references to these roads 
and gates in Jewish writers, and the contrasts are familiar in Eastern life. 
The gardens and houses have small narrow gates, perhaps to keep out horse- 
men, and to avoid attracting attention to the wealth of the owners. 
But see 2 Esdras, 8:3. " There be many created ; but few shall be 
saved." The wide gate leads to — 1, a broad road; 2, a well-trodden 
road ; 3, to multitudes on the road, it is popular ; but 4, it goes to destruc- 
tion. The narrow gate leads to — 1, a narrow way ; 2, to few in the way, it is 
not popular; but 3, it leads to life. The self-righteous, and all those possess- 
ing an apparently religious manner, yet who are not religious before God, go in 
at the wide gate. Only those who sincerely do God's will, in the spirit of 
love, find the little strait gate, or keep in the narrow way. 

Suggestive Applications. — 1. Selfishness blinds us to our own faults, 
and makes us sharp respecting our neighbors.' 2. What would become of us 
if God should be as exact in judging us as we are in judging our neighbors ? 
3. Reprovers should first free themselves of faults — "the snuffers of the 
sanctuary were to be of pure gold." 4. " Christ knocks at our door, and 
allows us to knock at his." — Henry. 5. Men can get into the wide gate with 
all their lusts, sins and self-righteousness. 6. Men can enter the strait gate 
only by repentance, regeneration and obedience to God. 7. It is not safe to 
go with the multitude in religious practices. 

The False and the True. vs. 15-29 ; 8 : 1. 

15. Beware of false prophets] This is an application of what had 
gone before. This is one way of avoiding the wide gate and entering the 
strait gate. The false teachers could only lead you into the broad road ; 
outwardly they appear as true Christians in the guise of sheep ; inwardly 
they are wolves. You cannot tell them by their appearance, but you can tell 
them by their fruits. Watch what they do and the motive which prompts 
them to do it. Changing the figure, you do not pick grapes from thorns, nor 
figs of thistles; the "thorns" being of numerous kinds in Palestine; the 
" thistles " strictly are the " caltrop," a prickly plant, growing in dry and 
desert places. One species of Syrian thistle has heads two or three inches 
in diameter, set round with thorns, in the midst of which is a beautiful blue 
flower. The fig is smooth, the opposite of thorns. So do not judge men by 
their professions, but by their practices. 



Common Version. 

14 Because strait is the gate, and narrow is 
the way, which leadeth unto life, and few 
there be that find it. 

15 fl Beware of false prophets, which come 
to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly 
they are ravening wolves. 

16 Ye shall know them by their fruits. 
Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of 
thistles? 



Bevised Version. 

14 are they that enter in thereby. l For 
narrow is the gate, and straitened the 
way, that leadeth unto life, and few are 
they that find it. 

15 Beware of false prophets, that come to 
you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly are 

16 ravening wolves. By their fruits ye shall 
know them. Do men gather grapes of 

17 thorns, or figs of thistles? Even so every 



17 Even so every good tree bringetb forth j good tree bringeth forth good fruit: but 
good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth j the corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit, 
forth evil fruit. I 

1 Many ancient authorities read How narrow is the gate, etc. 



Matt. 7 : 18-24.] THE FALSE AND THE TRUE. 91 



18. A good tree cannot bring" forth evil fruit] Jesus implies that 
you need not be misled ; it is not possible for evil fruit to be on a good tree, or 
good fruit on an evil tree. So a man corrupt at heart cannot show the fruits 
of true religion, nor can a man with a new heart constantly bring forth that 
which is evil. Neither kind can conceal their true character; the bad man, 
no matter what his professions or his pretensions to goodness, will show his 
moral rottenness somewhere and somehow. The good man, no matter how 
great his humility, will not be able to keep his goodness from shining. The 
bad tree is cast into the fire, like the chaff in chap. 3 : 12. 

21. Not every one that saith . . . Lord] Not profession, not calling 
on the name of the Lord, as an empty form, but doing the will of the Lord, 
is the essence of true religion. Not outward service, nor formal service, nor 
numberless prayers, but obedience, is required of us if we will become sub- 
jects of the kingdom. 

22. have we not prophesied in thy name ?] or, did we not prophesy ? 
"In that day" may refer to v. 19, meaning the great day of the Lord — the 
day of judgment. To prophesy, in the New Testament sense, means not 
merely to predict future events, but includes the whole work of gospel 
teaching. 

in thy name have cast out devils ?] or, by thy name, as if it had been 
by authority of Christ. They would use the power of his name to expel 
" demons," for this is the strict meaning of the word for " devils," and per- 
haps use his name as if it had some spiritual charm, and in like manner 
they would claim many wonderful works, usually meaning miracles. Even 
false professors in the early Church appear to have shared this power. As 
Schaflf remarks, "their self-deception continues to the very bar of final 
judgment." 

23. then will I profess] They made a false public profession of Christ ; 
he will make a true public profession concerning them, namely, that he never 
knew them. See Matt. 25 : 12. 

24. Therefore whosoever heareth . . . and doeth] This is a sum- 



Common Version. 

18 A good tree cannot bring forth evil 
fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth 
good fruit. 

19 Every tree that bringeth not forth good 
fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire. 

20 Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know 
them. 

21 fl Not every one that saith unto me, 
Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of 
heaven ; but he that doeth the will of my 
Father which is in heaven. 

22 Many will say to me in that day, Lord, 
Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? 
and in thy name have cast out devils? and 
in thy name done many wonderful works? 

23 And then will I profess unto them, 
I never knew you: depart from me, ye that 
work iniquity. 

24 fl Therefore whosoever heareth these 
•ayings of mine, and doeth them, I will 

1 Gr. powers. 



Revised Version. 

18 A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, 
neither can a corrupt tree bring forth 

19 good fruit. Every tree that bringeth not 
forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast 

20 into the fire. Therefore by their fruits 

21 ye shall know them. Not every one that 
saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter 
into the kingdom of heaven, but he that 
doeth the will of my Father who is in 

22 heaven. Many will say to me in that 
day, Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy by 
thy name, and by thy name cast out de- 
mons, and by thy name do many * mighty 

23 works? And then will I profess unto 
them, I never knew you: depart from 

24 me, ye that, work iniquity. Every one 
therefore who heareth these worda af 



92 



A COMMENTARY ON THE GOSPEL OF MATTHEW. [Matt. 7 : 25-29 ; 8 : 1. 



maiy, a final application, of the teaching. We are all to hear with attention, 
and we are to make profession, and also to confess Christ before the world. 
But neither of these will make us true subjects of the kingdom ; only doing 
his will can mark us as his true people. This is like building on a rock. 
The floods in the East are often sudden and sweeping ; they tear up the soil, 
bear away great boulders, and lay waste gardens, orchards and houses in 
their course. It is needful to have a house founded upon a rock ; they must 
dig down to the rock-bed, and build upon a strong foundation. Buildings 
founded upon the sand, whether slight or grand, are swept away like cockle- 
shells when the floods come. The rock is Christ ; the sand is the self- 
righteous teaching of the Pharisees ; the rain, flood and wind are the various 
trials and temptations to which the Christian life is subjected in this world. 
The house on the sand falls, and great is the fall of it. All the money, care 
and anxiety of the owner have been lost. The house on the rock stands, the 
owner and his treasures are safe. 

28. the people were astonished] The Greek is a strong word ; liter- 
ally, <( strike out," or "driven out. of their senses" by the teaching. 

29. For lie taught them as one having authority] It was not merely 
the subject of his teaching, but also the manner of it, which astonished his 
hearers. The rabbins were accustomed to teach, but supported their state- 
ments by innumerable references to others. Jesus spoke as one who seemed 
to have knowledge within himself; and his manner and his tone, as well as 
the subject of his teaching, indicated his superior power and his superior 
knowledge. 

8:1. When he was come down from the mountain] Literally, " and 
with him coming down from the mountain many crowds followed him." 
The connection with the close of the foregoing chapter is made very clear 
by the original construction of the first word, " and to him descending from 
the mountain," as Alexander justly observes. And this verse properly closes 
Matthew's account of the sermon on the mount. 



Common Version. 

liken him unto a wise man, which built his 
house upon a rock : 

25 And the rain descended, and the floods 
came, and the winds blew, and beat upon 
that house; and it fell not: for it was 
founded upon a rock. 

26 And every one that heareth these say- 
ings of mine, and doeth them not, shall be 
likened unto a foolish man, which built his 
house upon the sand : 

27 And the rain descended, and the floods 
came, and the winds blew, and beat upon 
that house; and it fell: and great was the 
fall of it. 

28 And it came to pass, when Jesus had 
ended those sayings, the people were aston- 
ished at his doctrine: 

29 For he taught them as one having au- 
thority, and not as the scribes. 

C^HAP. VIII. — When he was come down 
j from the mountain, great multitudes 
followed him. 



Revised Version. 

mine, and doeth them, shall be likened 
unto a wise man, who built his house 

25 upon the rock : and the rain descended, 
and the floods came, and the winds blew, 
and beat upon that house; and it fell 
not: for it was founded upon the rock. 

26 And every one that heareth these words 
of mine and doeth them not, shall be 
likened unto a foolish man, who built 

27 his house upon the sand : and the rain 
descend ^d, and the floods came, and the 
winds blew, and smote upon that house; 
and it fell : and great was the fall thereof. 

28 And it came to pass, when Jesus ended 
these words, the multitudes were aston- 

29 ished at his teaching : for he taught them 
as one having authority, and not as their 
scribes. 

8 And when he wa 5 * come down from 
the mountain, great multitudes followed 



Matt. 8 : 2, 3.] 



JESUS' POWER OVER DISEASE. 



93 



Suggestive Applications.— 1. A wolf may appear in sheep's clothing, 
but he is still a wolf; a sheep may foolishly put on wolf's clothing, yet he is 
not a wolf, but a sheep still. Some Christians may have a rough exterior, 
but be Christians still. 2. " Every hypocrite is a goat in sheep's clothing, 
but a false prophet or teacher is a wolf in sheep's clothing." — Henry. 3. Stick- 
ing apples and bunches of grapes on a thorn bush does not change the bush ; 
so a few kind words and acts will not change the heart of a bad man. 4. "A 
man may cast devils out of others and yet have a devil — may be a devil 
himself." — Henry. 5. A teacher may help others to heaven, yet come short 
of it himself. 6. One may have a great reputation for piety, among men, 
yet be a worker of iniquity before God. 7. Building on the rock requires 
labor, and building a character on Christ requires diligent doing. 8. There 
is a storm coming which will test the character we have builded. 9. Persons 
may admire good preaching, and be astonished by it, yet stick to their sins. 



Chap. VIII. Jesus' Power over Disease, vs. 2-17. 
Galilee, a.d. 28. 

The order of the miracles and events here narrated in the eighth and ninth 
chapters varies in the three Gospels. The true chronological order is a mat- 
ter of conjecture, and harmonists do not agree as to that order. The Evan- 
gelists do not give a definite order, and therefore, any one of two or three 
orders may be consistent with the requirements of the several narratives. 
The place in Galilee at which the leper was healed is unknown. The heal- 
ing of the centurion's servant and of Peter's wife's mother took place at 
Capernaum. 

2. behold, there came a leper] The healing of the leper is placed 
after the healing of Peter's wife's mother, by Mark and Luke. Mark 1 : 40- 
45 ; Luke 5 : 12-15. Matthew here does not make a definite note of time. 
The healing of this leper is the first specific miracle described by Matthew. 
It had relation to the Mosaic law, and incidentally would prove what Jesus 
asserted, that he came not to destroy the law, see v. 4. On leprosy, as a dis- 
ease and as a type of sin, see special note at the end of this chapter. 

if thou wilt, thou canst] " Wilt and canst are not merely auxiliaries, 
but distinct and independent verbs." — J. A. Alexander. If thou art willing 
thou art able to make me clean, is the meaning of the leper. 

3. Jesus . . . touched him, saying, I will] To touch a leper would 
defile one, but here infinite purity touched finite impurity, and the impurity 
was healed and became pure. In response to the prayer of the leper, Jesus, 
having stretched forth his hand, touched him, saying, I will, be thou cleansed, 
and immediately his leprosy was cleansed. 



Common Version. 

2 And, behold, there came a leper and wor- 
shipped him, saying, Lord, if thou wilt, thou 
canst make me clean. 

3 And Jesus put forth his hand, and touched 
him, saying, I will; be thou clean. And 
immediately his leprosy was cleansed. 



Revised Version. 

2 him. And behold, there came to him a 
leper and worsbipped bim, saying, Lord, 
if tbou wilt, thou canst make me clean. 

3 And he stretched forth his hand, and 
touched him, saying, I will; be thou 
made clean. And straightway his lep- 



94 



A COMMENTARY ON THE GOSPEL OF MATTHEW. [Matt. 8: 4, 5. 



4. See thou tell 110 man] Similar silence was enjoined upon the blind 
man, chap. 9 : SO, 31, and upon the man cured of an impediment in his 
speech. .Mark 7 : 36. One reason for this silence appears in Mark 1 : 45, for 
the leper, disobeying Jesus, published the miracle, and he could no more 
openly enter into the city. The publicity of the miracle hindered Jesus in 
his proper teaching work. Notice the graphic words, similar to Mark : 
" Look ! tell nobody ! But go show yourself to the priest." Let him 
attest that you are lawfully clean. The gift that Moses commanded was : 1, 
two birds alive, and clean ; 2, cedar-wood ; 3, scarlet ; 4, hyssop. Lev. 14 : 4— 
7. On the seventh and eighth days further purifications were to be had. 
See Lev. 14 : 9-32. 

for a testimony unto them] Some hold that this testimony was a proof 
to the priests that Jesus reverenced the law ; others that it was to be a proof 
to the people. It is better to take it in the broadest sense ; the leper's cure 
could only be established by official examination, and the testimony follow- 
ing it would be a public proof to both priests and people that he was cured. 

5. there came unto him a centurion] Luke relates this case more 
fully, Luke 7 : 1-10. In Luke's narrative it follows closely the account of the 
sermon on the plain or " level place." Some have supposed that the two 
accounts relate to two distinct healings, because Luke speaks of messengers, 
while Matthew implies that the centurion came himself to Jesus. Both these 
things, however, would be in accord with Oriental custom. An Oriental of 
prominence would be expected to send messengers to announce his coming 
and his errand in advance; then he would be expected to follow himself to 
urge his request. Matthew states that Jesus having entered into Capernaum 
a centurion came to him ; he does not mention the messengers coming first. 
The centurion humbly begged, " Lord, my boy lieth in the house sick of the 
palsy, grievously tormented," that is, in great pain. 

The centurion was captain of a Roman company nominally consisting of 
an hundred soldiers, hence his title " centurion," one over " an hundred." 
The Roman army was divided into legions, like our army corps. A legion 
ordinarily comprised 6200 footmen and 730 horsemen ; but often it varied in 
numbers from 3000 to 6000. This legion was divided into ten cohorts, com- 
monly designated "bands" in the New Testament, and these cohorts into 
centuries, each commanded by a centurion, as captains now have 100 soldiers 
for a company. The word for servant is literally " my boy." Luke says 
" his slave," and his favorite one. 

Paralysis in its most common form was seldom painful; but some 
forms, when attended with contraction of the muscles, are accompanied with 
extreme pain, and this is the meaning of "grievously tormented." The 



Common Version. 

4 And Jesus saith unto him, See thou tell 
no man; but go thy way, shew thyself to 
the priest, and offer the gift that Moses com- 
manded, for a testimony unto them. 

5 % And when Jesus was entered into Ca- 
pernaum, there came unto him a centurion, 
beseeching him, 



Bevised Version. 

4 rosy was cleansed. And Jesus saith unto 
him, See thou tell no man ; hut go thy 
way, shew thyself to the priest, and offer 
the gift that Moses commanded, for a tes- 
timony unto them. 

5 And when he was entered into Caper- 
naum, there came unto him a centurion, 



Matt. 8 : 6-11.] JESUS' POWER OVER DISEASE. 95 



case seems to have awakened the pity of Jesus, for he immediately said, "I 
will heal him." 

8. I am not worthy] And the centurion, answering, said, Lord, I am 
not worthy that thou shouldest enter under my roof, but only speak the word 
and my boy will be healed. Some suppose that the centurion, though a 
Roman officer, was a proselyte of the gate. 

9. I am • • • under authority] The centurion gives a reason with his 
message : even I am a man under power, and also having under myself sol- 
diers, and I say to this one go, and he goes, and to another come, and he 
comes ; and to my servant do this, and he doeth it. The meaning is obvious 
enough : the centurion believed that Jesus had command over disease, just 
as he had command over soldiers ; therefore Jesus could order the disease 
away and it would go at his bidding, as a soldier would go at the bidding of 
his captain. There is no hint here that the centurion referred to angels or 
to angelic messengers, as some have needlessly supposed. 

10. Jesus . • • marvelled] Having heard the answer, Jesus mar- 
velled and said to those following, truly I say to you I have not found so great 
faith in Israel. It was a remarkable testimony to the faith of a Roman. A 
similar instance of faith in a similar officer is found in Acts 10 : 1-8. 

11. many shall come from the east and west] The passage in this 
and the next verse is not in Luke, and hence some suppose these thoughts were 
spoken in some other connection. But they seem to fall in naturally here, 
as a more full statement of the truth which he had just announced. Matthew, 
writing to the Jews, pointed out their rejection because they had no faith. 
Luke, writing to the Gentiles, omitted this application. To enforce the 
statement of the greatness of the faith of the centurion, Jesus added, I say 
to you that many shall come from the east and west (literally, from risings 
and settings), and they shall recline with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob in the 
kingdom of the heavens, but the sons of the kingdom shall be thrust out 



Common Version. 



Revised Version. 



6 And saying, Lord, my servant lieth at 
home sick of the palsy, grievously tormented. 

7 And Jesus saith unto him, I will come 
and heal him. 

8 The centurion answered and said, Lord, 
I am not worthy that thou shouldest come 
under my roof: but speak the word only, 
and my servant shall be healed. 

9 For I am a man under authority, having 
soldiers under me: and I say to tbis man, 
Go, and he goeth ; and to another, Come, 
and he cometh ; and to my servant, Do this, 
and he doeth it. 

10 When Jesus heard it, he marvelled, and 
said to them that followed, Verily I say 
unto you, I have not found so great faith, 
no, not in Israel. 

11 And I say unto you, That many shall 
come from the east and west, and shall sit 
down with Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob, 
in the kingdom of heaven : 

1 Or, boy 2 Gr. sufficient. 3 Gr. with a word. 4 Some ancient authorities insert set : as in 
Luke 7:8. 5 Gr. bondservant. 6 Many ancient authorities read With no man in Israel have I 
found so gi-eat faith. * Gr. recline. 



6 beseeching him, and saying, Lord, my 
1 servant lieth in the house sick of the 

7 palsy, grievously tormented. And he 
saith unto him, I will come and heal 

8 him. And the centurion answered and 
said, Lord, I am not 2 worthy that thou 
shouldest come under my roof: but only 
say 3 the word, and my * servant shall be 

9 healed. For I also am a man 4 under 
authority, having under myself soldiers : 
and I say to this one, Go, and he goeth ; 
and to another, Come, and he cometh; 
and to my 5 servant, Do this, and he do- 

10 eth it. And when Jesus heard it, he 
marvelled, and said to them that fol- 
lowed, Verily I say unto you, 6 1 have not 
found so great faith, no, not in Israel. 

11 And I say unto you, that many shall 
come from the east and the west, and 
7 sit down with Abraham, and Isaac, and 



96 



A COMMENTARY ON THE GOSPEL OF MATTHEW. [Matt. 8 : 12-15. 



into the dark, the outermost; there shall be the weeping and the gnashing 
of teeth. The description is that of a great feast, where multitudes from the 
east and west should come to recline at the table, while many of the Israel- 
ites of that day, like the Pharisees and Sadducees, who were called sons of 
the kingdom, because legally sons of Abraham, but having no faith, and 
not worthy to be sons, would be cast out into the utter dark without. A 
similar picture of the torments of the wicked in outer darkness is found in 
other religious works. The Institutes of Menu state, "The wicked shall 
have . . . agony in utter darkness, . . . they shall suffer alternate afflictions 
from extremes of cold and heat, . . . pangs of innumerable sorts, and lastly, 
innumerable deaths." The Zend-Avesta declares, of the place of the wicked 
spirits, that it is of darkness, the germs of the thickest darkness. Milton 
describes a similar region in such forcible and awful language as to make 
the strong man shiver even in midsummer. See Paradise Lost, book ii. 1. 586. 

13. as thou hast believed] The message of Jesus to the centurion 
was, as thou hast believed so let it be done to thee ; and his boy was healed 
in that hour. The faith was equal to the healing and the healing equal to 
the faith. There is a variation in the account of this healing as given by 
Luke. Matthew seems to imply that the centurion came in person ; Luke 
says he sent the elders of the Jews. There is no contradiction ; the expla- 
nation is as old as it is simple ; what one does by another he does by him- 
self. Matthew's account is brief; Luke's is more full. Matthew credits the 
centurion with doing by himself what in reality he did by another. So 
Pilate is said to have scourged Jesus, but certainly not with his own hands. 
Jesus is said to have baptized, but he did it by his disciples. See John 4 : 1 
and 19 : 1. 

14. when Jesus was come into Peter's house] Mark and Luke 
imply that this was on the Sabbath, and place it before the healing of the 
leper. Peter and Andrew, though born in Bethsaida, appear to have resided 
in Capernaum. The cities were near together, on the Sea of Galilee. 

wife's mother] Peter, who according to the Koman Catholic Church was 
the first pope, was married. Tradition says the mother's name was Per- 
petua or Concordia, and her daughter was called Petronella. The mother 
had been stricken down with a great fever, with sudden prostration ; and the 
high fever, as described by Luke, may imply something like our typhus. 

15. he touched her hand] The recovery was sudden, and cannot be 



Common Version. 

12 But the children of the kingdom shall 
he cast out into outer darkness : there shall 
be weeping and gnashing of teeth. 

13 And Jesus said unto the centurion, Go 
thy way ; and as thou hast believed, so be it 
done unto thee. And his servant was healed 
in the selfsame hour. 

14 fi And when Jesus was come into Peter's 
house, he saw his wife's mother laid, and 
sick of a fever. 

15 And he touched her hand, and the fever 



Revised Version. 

12 Jacob, in the kingdom of heaven : but 
the sons of the kingdom shall be cast 
forth into the outer darkness: there 
shall be the weeping and gnashing of 

13 teeth. And Jesus said unto the centu- 
rion, Go thy way ; as thou hast believed, 
so be it done unto thee. And the 1 serv- 
ant was healed in that hour. 

14 And when Jesus was come into Peter's 
house, he saw his wife's mother lying 

15 sick of a fever. And he touched her 



1 Or, boy 



Matt. 8 : 16-49.] THE POWER OVER MEN, THE SEA AND DEMONS. 97 



explained by natural causes. After such a fever a person would ordinarily 
be weak and unable to rise for work when the fever was broken. 

16. When the even was come] In the cool of the evening, and after 
the Jewish Sabbath was past, for it ended at sunset of the seventh day, the 
people brought their sick and those possessed with demons to be healed ; and 
Jesus cast out the spirits by a word, and healed all their sick, and so was ful- 
filled the prophecy of Isaiah 53 : 4. The citation is from the Hebrew ver- 
sion, giving the sense of the original prophecy, and implying that in some 
way Christ removed these diseases by bearing them in his own person. See 
1 Peter 2 : 24. 

Suggestive Applications. — 1. "Faith ever says, if thou wilt, not if 
thou canst." — Gerlach. 2. Sin is the leprosy of the soul. 3. The greatest 
sinner, if penitent, Christ can and will forgive. 4. The soul redeemed from 
sin should testify of its Redeemer. 5. Great men's families cannot escape 
sickness. 6. The greatest of men must come to Christ on the same footing 
as beggars. 7. Soldiers may be men of great faith. 8. Christ commended 
the centurion's faith, though a Roman ; we should give due praise to Chris- 
tian character, whether in our Church or another. 9. Christianity is a re- 
ligion of kindness to the sick and afflicted. 10. The touch of Christ can cure 
from the fever of sin. 

The Power over Men, the Sea and Demons, vs. 18-34 ; 9 : 1. 

Sea of Galilee, a.d. 28. 

The topics in this section are : Following Jesus, 18-22 ; The Storm, 23- 
27 ; The Gadarene Demoniacs, 28-34. 

19, a certain scribe came] A scribe, who acknowledged Jesus as a 
teacher, came and said, Teacher, I will follow thee wheresoever thou mayest 
go. And Jesus saith to him, The foxes (all the fox family, but here refer- 
ence is especially to jackals, that were common in Palestine) have holes or 
dens, and the birds of heaven have lodging places or shelters (a broader 
word than nests), but the Son of man hath not where to lay his head. It 
implies that Jesus had no house or home of his own. Yet he never was in 
want of a lodging-place. 



Common Version. 



left her : and she arose, and ministered unto 
them. 

16 f When the even was come, they brought 
unto him many that were possessed with 
devils : and he cast out the spirits with his 
word, and healed all that were sick : 

17 That it might be fulfilled which was 
spoken by Esaias the prophet, saying, Him- 
self took our infirmities, and bare our sick- 
nesses. 

18 f Now when Jesus saw great multitudes 
about him, he gave commandment to depart 
unto the other side. 

19 And a certain scribe came, and said unto 
him, Master, I will follow thee whithersoever 
thou goest. 

1 Or, demoniacs 2 Gr. one scribe. 8 Or, Teacher 

7 



Revised Version. 



hand, and the fever left her; and she 

16 arose, and ministered unto him. And 
when even was come, they brought unto 
him many a possessed with demons: and 
he cast out the spirits with a word, and 

17 healed all that were sick : that it might 
be fulfilled which was spoken through 
Isaiah the prophet, saying, Himself took 
our infirmities, and bare our diseases. 

18 Now when Jesus saw great multitudes 
about him, he gave commandment to de- 

19 part unto the other side. And there 
came 2 a scribe, and said unto him, 3 Mas- 
ter, I will follow thee whithersoever thou 



A COMMENTARY ON THE GOSPEL OF MATTHEW. [Matt. 8:20-27. 



21. suffer me first to go and bury my father] Another of his dis- 
ciples said to him, Lord (not Teacher, as before), permit me first to go away 
and bury my father. The ancient tradition reported by Clement of Alex- 
andria says this disciple was Philip, the apostle. Bury is used in the wide 
sense of all the funeral ceremony. Allow me first to attend to that, then I 
will follow thee. But Jesus saith to him, follow me, and leave the dead to 
bury their dead. The great work of discipleship is to follow Christ. Let 
those dead in sin bury their own dead in body. Or, if " dead " be taken in 
the same sense in both cases, then it means let the dead bury themselves ; 
that is, better let them be unburied than to neglect following Christ. But 
the first interpretation is preferable. 

24. there arose a great tempest] And he entering into a boat, his 
disciples followed him, and behold a great tempest arose in the sea, so the 
boat was being covered by the waves, but he continued asleep. Mark graph- 
ically adds, there were other boats with him ; a great storm of wind, and the 
waves beat into the boat, and Jesus was asleep on a pillow or cushion. The 
ship or boat was no doubt an ordinary fishing-boat on the Lake of Galilee. 
Only one or two boats are now to be found on that sea. 

25. his disciples • . . awoke him] The Master, who had not where 
to lay his head, could sleep on a cushioned seat in a boat and in a storm. 
The disciples' cry was, Lord, save, we are perishing. 

26. he arose, and rebuked the winds and the sea] He rebukes them, 
then rebukes the wind and the sea. The evangelist reproduces the laconic 
speech and pictures the calm ! The men marvelled, exclaiming, What manner 
of man is this? This does not mean what country is he from, but what kind 
of power has this man ? Even the winds and the sea obey him. This im- 
plies that they knew other things obeyed him, as diseases, but now, even the 
wild elements, that were supposed to be under God's special control, obey 
this person. 



Common Version. 

20 And Jesus saith unto him, The foxes 
have holes, and the birds of the air have 
nests ; but the Son of man hath not where 
to lay his head. 

21 And another of his disciples said unto 
him, Lord, suffer me first to go and bury 
my father. 

22 But Jesus said unto him, Follow me; 
and let the dead bury their dead. 

23 f And when he was entered into a ship, 
his disciples followed him. 

24 And, behold, there arose a great tempest 
in the sea, insomuch that the ship was cov- 
ered with the waves : but he was asleep. 

25 And his disciples came to him, and 
awoke him, saying, Lord, save us: we 
perish. 

26 And he saith unto them, Why are ye 
fearful, ye of little faith ? Then he arose, 
and rebuked the wind and the sea; and 
there was a great calm. 

27 But the men marvelled, saying, What 
manner of man is this, that even the winds 
and the sea obey him ! 

1 Gr. lodging-places. 



Kevised Version. 

20 goest. And Jesus saith unto him, The 
foxes have holes, and the birds of the 
heaven have 1 nests ; but the Son of man 

21 hath not where to lay his head. And 
another of the disciples said unto him, 
Lord, suffer me first to go and bury my 

22 father. But Jesus saith unto him, Fol- 
low me ; and leave the dead to bury their 
own dead. 

23 And when he was entered into a boat, 

24 his disciples followed him. And behold, 
there arose a great tempest in the sea, 
insomuch that the boat was covered with 

25 the waves : but he was asleep. And they 
came to him, and awoke him, saying, 

26 Save, Lord; we perish. And he saith 
unto them, Why are ye fearful, ye of 
little faith ? Then he arose, and rebuked 
the winds and the sea ; and there was a 

27 great calm. And the men marvelled, 
saying, What manner of man is this, 
that even the winds and the sea obey 
him? 



Matt. 8.] THE LAKE OF GALILEE. 99 

The Lake of Galilee is frequently noticed in Scripture as " Sea of 
Chinnereth," " Chinneroth," Num. 34 : 11 ; Deut. 3:17; Josh. 11 : 2 ; 12 : 3 ; 1 
Kings 15 : 20 ; " sea" and " Sea of Galilee," Matt. 4 : 18 ; 8 : 24 ; 13 : 1 ; 17 : 27 ; 
" Lake of Gennesaret," Luke 5:1; " Sea of Tiberias," John 6 : 1, and in the 
apocryphal books " Gennesar," 1 Mace. 11 : 67. It is now called Bahr Tuba- 
riyeh=Lake of Tiberias. 

It lies in a deep basin or depression of the great Jordan valley, about 680 
feet below the level of the Mediterranean Sea, and is about thirteen miles 
long from north to south, and from four to eight miles broad from west to 
east. The depth of the water is from 150 to 230 feet except at the north end, 
where it is over 800 feet in depth. The lake is the shape of an inverted pear, 
the large end toward the north and the large swell to the west. 

The lake is surrounded by a wall of hills, here and there broken by ravines. 
The hills are of limestone and basalt, with volcanic rocks and marks of vol- 
canic action, as hot springs and occasional earthquakes ; yet it is not proven 
that the "great ditch" or basin of the lake is of volcanic origin. 

The river Jordan enters the lake from the north, and colors its waters for 
more than a mile. It runs out again at the south end, coursing its way 
through the deep valley to the Dead Sea. The water has a slightly salty 
taste, but is drunk by the people and is wholesome. Fish abound in its 
waters still as in the days of Christ, and are of many kinds ; large shoals of 
them are frequently seen. There is one fish of peculiar character which 
carries eggs and its young about in its mouth, and another kind which emits 
a sound. The fisheries on the lake which were extensive in the time of Christ 
are unkown, now only nine boats of all kinds were reported to the government, 
as on the lake ten years ago. The finest beach is on the northwest, where was 
the plain of Gennesaret, and the sites of the celebrated cities of Capernaum, 
Bethsaida and Chorazin. 

Conder describes the beach as narrow except on the northwest, where the cliffs recede 
forming the fertile plain of Gennesaret, watered by several fine springs. The pebbly open 
shore on the north is broken into numerous bays fringed with dark oleanders. On the 
southeast side is a palm grove, and a few palms on the western shore. On the east are 
steep slopes bare and desolate, but the clear water of the lake in calm weather mirroring 
the surrounding hills and shining in the sun presents a beautiful scene. The hot springs 
are near Tiberias. 

The deep hollow in the earth in which the lake is situated makes it like an oven, giving 
it a sub-tropical climate, hot, with a steamy atmosphere. There were not less than nine 
cities and villages on its shores in the time of Christ, chiefly on the west side. The hills 
were then no doubt covered with trees; for "cypresses, oaks, almonds, firs, figs, cedars, 
citrons, olives, myrtles, palms and balsams" are enumerated by a contemporary of Jesus 
as adorning the valleys or hills. In many spots they were then like a splendid garden, 
" oleander bushes with flowers of the loveliest colors, figs, vines, grain fields, and meadows 
fringed the banks, and while fruit trees and leaves covered the hills, the shores were dotted 
with waving palms." So Josephus describes it. 

The deep sun'ken situation of the lake and the ranges of hills with which it is surrounded 
make it subject to sudden and violent storms. Dr. Manning describes how gusts of wind 
rush down from the mountains into the rarefied air below and raise storms of extraordinary 
suddenness and fury: "One of these I experienced which illustrated many of the details 
of New Testament history. I had taken a boat, on a bright, cloudless morning, to explore 
the eastern shores and the point where the Jordan enters the lake. There was not a ripple 
on the water, not a perceptible current in the air. Almost without warning the wind rose ; 
the waves, crested with foam, began to break over the sides of the boat. I was sitting on a 
cushion, or 'pillow,' on the flat, raised stern, 'in the hinderpart of the ship,' and watched 
the crew 'toiling and rowing.' But all their efforts were in vain. They were unable to 
make any way, for ' the wind was contrary.' At length one of them jumped overboard, and, 
partly swimming, partly wading, towed the vessel ashore, close to the site of Capernaum." 



100 



A COMMENTARY ON THE GOSPEL OF MATTHEW. [Matt. 8 : 28-32. 



28. into the country of the Gergesenes] or " Gadarenes," as the Ke- 

vised Version reads. It is said that the reading " Gergesenes" was inserted 
in the text at an early day, on the authority of Origen. The name varies in 
the three Gospels. Good authorities read in Matthew " Gadarenes," as in 
the Revised Version. In Mark 5:1, " Gerasenes," or "Gadarenes"; in 
Luke 8 : 26, there are three textual readings: "Gerasenes," "Gergesenes" 
and " Gadarenes." The explanation of the variations probably is that Gad- 
ara being a large city it may have had jurisdiction over the adjoining dis- 
trict and was more widely known. Gerasene is perhaps a corruption of 
Gergesene, or derived from the city Khersa or Gersa, in the same district. 
The miracle could not have occurred at Gadara, which is too far from the 
lake. It was doubtless near the modern Khersa, or Gersa, where are rocks 
and caves used for tombs, and a steep descent near the edge of the lake, cor- 
responding exactly to the circumstances of this miracle. 

two possessed • . • exceeding tierce] Mark and Luke mention one. 
Luke adds that he was naked and had been afflicted a long time, and Mark 
that no man could bind him with chains, and that he cut himself with stones. 
Mark and Luke doubtless mention the more fierce and terrible of the two, 
and their particulars harmonize with Matthew, who says that no man might 
pass by that way. On demoniacs see note at the end of the chapter. 

29. to torment us before the time] Their cry, what have we to do 
with thee, literally, " what to us and to thee, Son of God ?" means what 
cause of quarrel is there between us ? They recognized Jesus as a holy 
being, the Son of God. Art thou come too soon to judge us ? They did not 
of necessity imply that the time of their judgment was fixed in the future. 
They opposed and defied condemnation, for it is consistent with the demon- 
iacal spirit thus to oppose and defy God's judgments. 

31. sutfer us to go away into the herd of swine] Swine were unclean 
to the Jews. He said, " Go," " Begone," not necessarily giving leave. This 
herd may have been the property of Gentiles, but more likely was owned 
by Jews, who might be raising them for the Gentile market. If the 
demons were to be cast out they desired to enter swine ; anywhere rather 
than their place of punishment. 

32. the whole • . . herd perished in the waters] Jesus would not 



Common Version. 

28 \ And when he was come to the other 
side into the country of the Gergesenes, 
there met him two possessed with devils, 
coming out of the tombs, exceeding fierce, 
so that no man might pass by that way. 

29 And, behold, they cried out, saying, 
What have we to do with thee, Jesus, thou 
Son of God? art thou come hither to tor- 
ment us before the time ? 

30 And there was a good way off from them 
a herd of many swine feeding. 

31 So the devils besought him, saying, If 
thou cast us out, suffer us to go away into 
the herd of swine. 

32 And he said unto them, Go. And when 



Revised Version. 

28 And when he was come to the other 
side into the country of the Gadanmes, 
there met him two * possessed with de- 
mons, coming forth out of the tombs, 
exceeding fierce, so that no man could 

29 pass by that way. And behold, they 
cried out, saying, What have we to do 
with thee, thou Son of God? art thou 
come hither to torment us before the 

30 time? Now there was afar off from 
them a herd of many swine feeding. 

31 And the demons besought him, saying, 
If thou cast us out, send us away into 

32 the herd of swine. And he said unto 



1 Or, demoniacs 



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Matt. 8 : 33, 34 ; 9 : 1.] LEPROSY, MODERN AND BIBLICAL. 101 



parley with demoniacal spirits. He ordered them to go out of the poor 
afflicted men. It may imply also that he suffered, that is, did not forbid, 
them to go into the swine. See Luke. The herd of swine, possessed with 
the demons, at once rushed down the steep bank, two thousand of them, as 
Mark tells us, and were drowned in the lake. 

33. they that kept them fled] In fright and astonishment the swine- 
herds ran to the town and reported the loss of their swine and the cure of 
the two possessed with demons. This brought nearly the whole city to see 
Jesus. They may have felt condemned for keeping swine, and for their 
methods of gaining property generally. So they preferred to have a holy 
being with the power of Jesus, on the other side of the sea, and they besought 
him to depart from their borders. 

9:1. came into his own city] This verse concludes the account of 
Christ's journey over the sea, and belongs to chap. 8. It is not connected 
with what follows in v. 2. Christ's own city was Capernaum. See Luke 
8 : 40. 

Suggestive Applications. — 1. Besolutions made without due consider- 
ation of the cost are soon broken. 2. Christ, who prepares heavenly man- 
sions for his people, had no home on earth for himself. 3. Some are kept 
from becoming Christians because of undue anxiety for their relatives. 4. An 
unwilling mind can always find an excuse. 5. Christ is master of the storms 
of life. 6. Demons and devils are hard masters. 7. Demons have a fearful 
expectation of judgment. 8. Demons acknowledged Christ's power. 9. When 
Christ appears, wicked men and devils alike are full of fears. 10. The 
Gadarenes preferred their hogs to Christ ; so with some men now. 

Leprosy, Modern and Biblical. 

BY PROF. GEO. E. POST, M.D., OF SYRIA. 

The leprosy of the Bible is not the disease now known by that name, and 
generally supposed to be the cause of ceremonial uncleanness. Lev. 13 and 
14 are the chief authorities on that subject. If any one will take the trouble 
to follow the descriptions of the rise, spread and decline of the malady as 
there given, he will see that the essence of it is a white or lurid or gleaming 
spot, producing more or less baldness in places covered with hair, often 



Common Version. 

they were come out, they went into the herd 
of swine : and, behold, the whole herd of 
swine ran violently down a steep place into 
the sea, and perished in the waters. 

33 And they that kept them fled, and went 
their ways into the city, and told every 
thing, and what was befallen to the pos- 
sessed of the devils. 

34 And, behold, the whole city same out to 
meet Jesus: and when they saw him, they 
besought him that he would depart out of 
their coasts. 

CHAP. IX. — And he entered into a ship, 
and passed ever, and came into his own 
city. 

1 Or, demoniacs 



Revised Version. 

them, Go. And they came out, and went 
into the swine: and behold, the whole 
herd rushed down the steep into the sea, 

33 and perished in the waters. And they 
that fed them fled, and went away into 
the city, and told every thing, and what 
was befallen to them that were 1 pos- 

34 sessed with demons. And behold, all the 
city came out to meet Jesus: and when 
they saw li tin, they besought him that 
he would depart from their borders. 

9 And he entered into a boat, and crossed 
over, and came into his own city. 



102 A COMMENTARY ON THE GOSPEL OF MATTHEW. [Matt. 9. 



arising from a boil. Now, in point of fact, the aleppo button, which is in ap- 
pearance much like a boil, and which lasts for many months — often for a 
year or more, so that the Arabs call it Habbat es Siny, the year boil — is fre- 
quently followed by a tetter or lepra, a spreading scabby eruption, following 
much the course described in Lev. 13 : 18-23. As these often occur in the 
face, they greatly disfigure their unfortunate victims by eating away a por- 
tion of the nose or cheek or lip, or by leaving an unsightly scab, and after 
years a lurid contracted cicatrix. The same disease — lepra — occurs from 
other causes. It is a malady having some tendency to wear itself out and 
get well. This is in accord also with the description of the disease of the 
Bible. By simply waiting, the unfortunate unclean often become clean. No 
modern leper ever wore out his malady. 

On the other hand, none of the well-known signs and appearances of the 
greater leprosy are described in Lev. 13 and 14.* 

The writer is aware that the adoption of this view would take away the 
force of innumerable commentaries and fine poetic allusions to the deadly 
elephantiasis of the Oriental lepers. But it will not in any way diminish 
the force and point of the ceremonial distinctions in regard to leprosy. 
Lepra vulgaris, especially the spreading chronic form of it, is a more visible 
and disgusting disease than elephantiasis, very intractable, and suitable as a 
legal and ceremonial illustration of moral uncleanness, incurable by ordinary 
medical means, loathsome to the beholder, and impairing the usefulness of 
those parts of the body which are attacked. It may still further be com- 
pared to sin in the fact that it is not a painful disease to its possessor, and but 
for its objective repulsiveness would perhaps attract little of his solicitude, 
and in the fact that it tends to spread, and involve the whole person. After 
all these considerations, however, the choice of leprosy among all other dis- 
eases, as the type of uncleanness, must revert to the simple will of the law- 
giver, a point emphasized by the fact that a man covered with leprosy from 
crown to sole was clean. Lev. 13 : 13. 

The sick man of Matt. 8 : 2-4, Mark 1 : 40 and Luke 5 : 12 was full of 
leprosy, but apparently not up to the standard of the ceremonial law. The 
fact that, being full of it, he could walk to Jesus, would forbid the supposition 
of elephantiasis. 

Had the leper been one of the greater type Christ would have said, v. 3, 
" be thou whole," instead of " be thou clean." Allusion would likewise have 
been made to the restoration of lost and deformed members, rather than to 
the departure of a disease which we may consider to have scaled from the 
surface of the body. Naaman, though a leper, was a mighty captain, and 
able to travel a long journey to see Elisha. 2 Kings 5 : 6-9. He thought 
that Elisha would place his hand over the place, as if a patch of tetter. 
When he washed, v. 14, his flesh came again as a child's, and he was clean. 
This looks more like the cleaning off of an eruption than the remaking of 

* See Dr. Post's articles in TJie Swiday-Sckool World, Feb. 1881, Sept. 1885, and in Sunday- 
School Teacher, London, May, 188U, in which arguments for lepra invelerata as the disease 
intended are given. 



Matt. 9.j 



LEPROSY, MODERN AND BIBLICAL. 



103 



carious bone and the re-creation of lost members. Gehazi went out, v. 27, 
as white as snow — an exact description of a man with lepra, and not at all 
accurate of a victim of elephantiasis. Miriam also, Num. 12 : 10, became 
as white as snow. 

The differences between the leprosy of Leviticus and the Elephantiasis 
Arabum, so commonly thought to be the disease of leprosy noted in Scrip- 
ture, may be most conveniently set forth in a tabular form. 



Leprosy of Leviticus 13, 14, and 
other Scriptures. 

1. A disease of the skin, never go- 
ing any deeper, principally manifest- 
ing itself in scaly patches, which on 
separating sometimes leave a reddish 
excoriation. 

2. It produces no constitutional 
disturbance, nor any effect on the 
deeper tissues. 



Elephantiasis Arabum. 

1. A disease sometimes beginning 
in the skin, but never in the form of 
scales and reddish spots, but in the 
form of nodules or folds, usually of 
a livid or lurid hue. 

2. Often beginning with numbness 
of the affected part; in the tuber- 
cular cases, soon produces deep ulcer- 
ations, with caries of bones and drop- 
ping of fingers and toes, great de- 
formity, and ultimate crippling of 
the whole body. In the later stages. 
often accompanied with fever and 
profound constitutional disturbances. 

3. Hereditary. 

4. Thought by some to be conta- 
gious. 

5. Incurable, never getting well of 
itself. 

6. In the end fatal. 



3. Not hereditary. 

4. Not contagious. 

5. Sometimes cured, though obsti- 
nate. Sometimes getting well of 
itself. 

6. Never fatal. 

The ceremonial view of the scriptural leprosy was one arising from the 
piebald, mixed character of the skin, and had the same basis as the refusal 
of a piebald animal for sacrifice, or a patched garment for a priest. Once a 
man was covered with leprosy he was clean. It would be monstrous to say 
this of a man with his whole body covered with the gangrenous sores and 
carious bones of Elephantiasis Arabum. Naaman's office, as a great military 
leader, precludes the idea of a malady more than skin-deep. The intract- 
able character of the leprosy mentioned in 2 Kings 5 : 7 does not militate 
against the above view of its true pathology. 

Demoniacal Possessions. 

Dwellers in Syria have none of the difficulties of western Christians respect- 
ing the belief that men were possessed with demons or devils. The Moslems 
believe in three classes of created spiritual beings — angels, devils and genii. 
The genii are a class between angels and devils. Devils are believed to be 



104 



A COMMENTARY ON THE GOSPEL OF MATTHEW. [Matt. 9 : 2. 



very numerous, and to have qualities similar to those ascribed to Satan in 
the Scriptures. In Arabic tradition, devils appear to have little to do with 
human beings ; genii, on the contrary, good and bad, act in and on men. 
The belief of the Semitic race in devils and genii is now as fresh and as 
powerful in its influence on the popular character as it was in our Lord's 
time. In addition to this belief the insane are also regarded as demoniacs. 
Many of the characteristics of the insane in Syria, twenty-five years ago, 
would correspond to the Gospel picture of demoniacs. They wandered about 
naked ; dwelt in rock-cut tombs ; were sometimes noted for prodigious 
strength and for their ability to break even chains. The Hebrews believed 
that demons tortured human beings, and Jesus accepts and acts upon this 
belief. Putting the various Gospel narratives together, it appears — 

1. That possession of devils or demons was different from any bodily dis- 
ease now known among us. 

2. It was actual and bodily possession by personal evil spirits. It was not 
a mere prevalence of the power of general evil, nor a mere belief that per- 
sons were so afflicted, but it was an actual physical fact. This view accords 
(a) with the plain meaning of the narrative; (6) with the scriptural repre- 
sentation of the malignity of Satan, especially at the time of the coming of 
the Saviour ; (c) it explains the confession of our Lord's divinity by the 
devils or demons, which implies superhuman knowledge. Nor is it 
altogether certain that this possession of men by demoniacal spirits has 
ceased. Instances of what seems to be a similar affliction are noted by many 
modern writers, the latest and fullest treatment being by Dr. J. L. Nevius, 
Demon Possession, 1896. See also SchafT's Dictionary of the Bible, and Ap- 
pendix to Edersheim's Life and Times of Jesus. 

Chap. IX. Power to Forgive Sin. vs. 2-8. 
Capernaum, a.d. 28. 

It does not come within the scope of this work to attempt to harmonize all 
the details of events in the several Gospel narratives. The order of the facts 
again varies so widely in Matthew, Mark and Luke that this chapter well 
illustrates the difficult and conjectural work of the harmonists. Most of 
them place v. 1 as following the cure of the Gadarene demoniacs, and as 
closing that narrative ; vs. 2-9 they put several months earlier, and follow- 
ing the cure of the leper of chap. 8 : 2-4 ; vs. 10-34 are again placed as fol- 
lowing in order the Gadarene demoniacs ; and vs. 35-38 as following a second 
rejection at Nazareth, noted in 13 : 54-58. The historic truthfulness of the 
Gospel narratives does not depend upon the discovery of the actual chro- 
nological order of the events. 

2. sick of the palsy] See Mark 2 : 1-12 ; Luke 5 : 18-26. He was a 



Common Version. 

2 And, behold, they brought to him a man 
sick of the palsy, lying on a bed : and Jesus 
seeing their faith said unto the sick of the 
palsy ; Son, be of good cheer ; thy sins be 
forgiven thee. 



Revised Version. 

2 And behold, they brought to him a man 
sick of the palsy, lying on a bed : and Jesus 
seeing their faith said unto the sick of 
the palsy, *Son, be of good cheer; thy 



i Gr. Child. 



Matt. 9 : 3-8.] 



POWER TO FORGIVE SIN. 



105 



"paralytic," and hence helpless, depending upon his friends to bring him. 
Four of them bore him to Jesus in a house of Capernaum, so Mark tells us. 
He is not said to be " grievously tormented," like the case in chap. 8 : 6. 
The disease here was apparently a " creeping paralysis." 

Jesus seeing their faith] Not merely the faith of the helpless man, but 
of his friends, who, finding it impossible to push through the crowd, took 
him upon the roof and let him down on his mattress in front of Jesus ; so 
Mark and Luke inform us. Jesus speaks a word of healing first to the man's 
soul. He speaks tenderly, "Son [or 'child'], be of good cheer; thy sins are 
forgiven." The Greek has a partly reversed order, which is more graphic 
and tender, " Be of good cheer, child, thy sins are forgiven." We are 
sure that the greatest need of his soul, as of every soul, was forgiveness. 
His afflictions may have led him to a penitent frame of mind, and have pre- 
pared him to receive the forgiveness so unexpectedly offered. The current 
Jewish belief was that sin brings misery, and they also held the converse of 
that proposition, "every bodily affliction was a judgment from God for some 
special sin." Jesus in effect declares, I put away sin ; and to prove that I 
have power to do it, I also put away the bodily disease. 

3-8. the scribes said within themselves] The scribes' thoughts took 
a double direction : it was blasphemy ; and again it was pretending to do what 
God only could do. Why not heal the helpless man ? thought they. It is 
easy to say, " Thy sins are forgiven." Jesus answers their thoughts : Why 
is it easier to say, Thy sins are forgiven, than to say, Arise and walk ? Or 
whether is it easier to say that or this ? Then accepting the challenge in 
their thoughts, but not spoken, Jesus attested his right and power to forgive 
sin on earth, by saying to the helpless man, " Arise, take up thy bed, and go 
unto thy house." The eastern bed was a thin rug or mattress, without bed- 
stead or framework, and could be rolled up and easily carried under the arm. 
So the man arose and went away. The vast crowd were filled with awe. 
They saw the power of Jesus, and glorified God, for they believed his power 
came from God. See notes on Mark 2 : 1-12. 

Suggestive Applications. — 1. Jesus is pleased with a strong, active 
faith in him. 2. A strong faith rises over all obstacles in approaching 



Common Version. 

3 And, behold, certain of the scribes said 
within themselves, This man blasphemeth. 

4 And Jesus knowing their thoughts said, 
Wherefore think ye evil in your hearts? 

5 For whether is easier, to say, Thy sins be 
forgiven thee; or to say, Arise, and walk? 

6 But that ye may know that, the Son of 
man hath power on earth to forgive sins, 
(then saith he to the sick of the palsy,) Arise, 
take up thy bed, and go unto thine house. 

7 And he arose, and departed to his 
house. 

8 But when the multitude saw it, they 
marvelled, and glorified God, which hail 
given such power unto men. 



Revised Version. 

3 sins are forgiven. And behold, certain 
of the scribes said within themselves, 

4 This man blasphemeth. And Jesus 
1 knowing their thoughts said, Where- 

5 fore think ye evil in your hearts? For 
whether is easier, to say, Thy sins are 
forgiven; or to say, Arise and walk? 

6 But that ye may know that the Son of 
man hath authority on earth to forgive 
sins (then saith he to the sick of the 
palsy), Arise, and take up thy bed, and 

7 go unto thy house. And he arose, and 

8 departed to his house. But when the 
multitudes saw it, they were afraid, and 
glorified God, who had given such au- 
thority unto men. 



Many ancient authorities read seeing. 



1 06 A COMMENTARY ON THE GOSPEL OF MATTHEW. [Matt. 9 : 9-12. 

Christ. 3. As sin is the cause of sickness, so repentance will often bring cure 
of the body as well as of the soul. 4. Christ knows what we think. 5. Some 
of the most dangerous sins are in our thoughts. 6. It is part of our duty to 
praise God for mercies given to others. 

The Friend of Sinners, vs. 9-17. Mark 2 : 13-22 ; Luke 5 : 27-39. 
Galilee, Capernaum, a.d. 28. 

Analysis. — The call of Matthew, v. 9 ; the feast, vs. 1 0-13 ; the question 
of John's disciples about fasting, vs. 14-17. 

0. he saw a man, named Matthew] Luke gives his name as Levi, 
and Mark adds that he was the son of Alphseus. On Matthew and Levi, see 
Introduction. Matthew was a tax collector, of the hated publicans. Their 
methods of extortion were many. He was sitting, literally, " at the custom- 
house," a kind of " toll-booth," near the lake, probably collecting a tax on the 
fish or produce that made up the trade of Capernaum. The pictures of Bida 
and others, representing Matthew as coming out of a four-story modern bazaar 
or warehouse at the call of Jesus, are misleading if not absurd. At this call 
Matthew arose and " left all," as Luke tells us — his position, his business — 
and followed Jesus. He may not seem to us to have had much to leave, but 
no man can leave more than his " all." A Chinese convert and evangelist 
was offered a customs position at double his salary. He replied : " Matthew 
left the receipt of customs to seek men ; shall I leave seeking men to sit at 
the receipt of customs?" 

10. sat at meat in his honse] The feast of Matthew or Levi here ap- 
pears to follow next after the call. So Meyer, Lange and others incline to 
fix it. But some harmonists place it several months later. The feast looks 
like a welcome to his new Master and a farewell to old friends, and as such 
would be fitting as he entered upon his new calling. No strict Jew would 
eat with publicans, or recognize them in society. They were social outcasts. 
That Jesus and his disciples should break over this social bar, and recline 
at meat with a "great company" (so Luke adds) of these despised persons, 
could hardly escape the sharp eyes of the Pharisees. The feast was in Mat- 
thew's house, not in the house of Jesus as Meyer erroneously supposes. 
Jesus had declared that he had no home. 8 : 20. 

12. whole need not a physician, but . . . sick] The legally righteous, 



Common Version. 



9 fl And as Jesus passed forth from thence, 
he saw a man, named Matthew, sitting at 
the receipt of custom: and he saith unto 
him, Follow me. And he arose, and followed 
him. 

10 % And it came to pass, as Jesus sat at 
meat in the house, behold, many publicans 
and sinners came and sat down with him 
and his disciples. 

] 1 And when the Pharisees saw it, they said 
unto his disciples, Why eateth your master 
with publicans and sinners? 

12 But when Jesus heard thai, he said unto 

1 Gr. reclined- and so always. 2 Or, Teacher 



Revised Version. 



9 And as Jesus passed by from thence, 
he saw a man, called Matthew, sitting at 
the place of toll: and he saith unto him, 
Follow me. And he arose, and followed 
him. 

10 And it came to pass, as he 1 sat at meat 
in the house, behold, many publicans and 
sinners came and sat down with Jesus 

11 and his disciples. And when the Phar- 
isees saw it, they said unto his disciples, 
Why eateth your a Master with the pub- 

12 licans and sinners? But when he heard 



Matt. 9 : 13-16.] THE FRIEND OF SINNERS. 107 

and you who claim to be righteous, do not need a spiritual physician, but the 
sinners do. Jesus appears to take the Pharisees at their own estimate of them- 
selves, and so ironically turns this proverb against them. They regarded 
outward legal righteousness as satisfactory to God. But to undeceive them, 
Jesus adds, v. 13, " I will have mercy, and not sacrifice." See Hosea 6 : 6. 
That is, legal sacrifices without the acts and the heart of mercy will not 
please God. Sacrifice represented God's mercy to the offerer, and needed to 
be offered in a merciful spirit. And then comes the plain assertion, without 
any figure of speech, " I came not to call the righteous, but sinners." 

14. Why do we and the Pharisees fast oft] Besides keeping the great 
fasts, the stricter Pharisees fasted two days every week, and found innumerable 
occasions for fasting in connection with special objects, either to secure some 
good or to avert some evil. This question on fasting may have been asked 
while at the feast, though this is not certain. Jesus shows that fasting is a 
mode of mourning. The children of the bride-chamber, that is, the friends 
of the bridegroom, who went to conduct the bride from her father's house to 
the house of the bridegroom, would not mourn. They go in joy, with festive 
dress, with bright lamps, lively music, and have a marriage feast on their 
arrival. So while Jesus the bridegroom is here, the disciples, forming the 
Church, which is the bride, rejoice rather than fast. 

16. new cloth . . . old garment] These two figures are clear to Syrian 
readers. The raw, not fulled, cloth, used to piece an old rotten garment, would 
shrink as soon as it was wet, and by shrinking would make a fresh and greater 
rent in the old garment. The old skin bottles, weak and partially rotted by 
previous use, would not be strong enough to bear the strain of fermentation 
of the new wine, and so wine and bottles would both be lost. The first figure 
may have a double application. The disciples of John thought they could 
patch up the old forms of Judaism with the new religion. Jesus means to 
teach them that this is impossible. The old garment may also refer to the 
common sinful life of men. This cannot be patched up by fasting and other 
outward forms of religion. The whole garment, the life, must be made anew. 
The old skin bottles represent the ceremonial religion of Judaism. You 



Common Version. 



them, They that be whole need not a physi- 
cian, but they that are sick. 

13 But go ye and learn what that meaneth, 
I will have mercy, and not sacrifice : for I 
am not come to call the righteous, but sin- 
ners to repentance. 

14 % Then came to him the disciples of 
John, saying, Why do we and the Pharisees 
fast oft, but thy disciples fast not? 

15 And Jesus said unto them, Can the chil- 
dren of the bridech amber mourn, as long as 
the bridegroom is with them? but the days 
will come, when the bridegroom shall he 
taken from them, ami then they shall last. 

It; No man putteth a piece of new cloth 
unto an old garment; for that which is put 
in to till it up taketh from the garment, and 
the rent is made worse. 



Revised Version. 



it, he said, They that are * whole have no 
need of a physician, but they that are 

13 sick. But go ye and learn what this 
meaneth, I desire mercy, and not sacri- 
fice : for I came not to call the righteous, 
but sinners. 

14 Then come to him the disciples of 
John, saying, Why do we and the Phar- 
isees fast 2 oft, but thy disciples fast not? 

15 And Jesus said unto them, Can the sons 
of the bride-chamber mourn, as long as 
the bridegroom is with them? but the 
days will conn', when the bridegroom 
shall be taken away from them, and then 

lti will they last. And no man putteth a 
piece of undressed cloth upon an old gar- 
ment ; for that which should til! it up 
taketh from the ganneut, and a \vors«* 

1 Qr. strong. 2 Some ancient authorities omit oft. 



108 



A COMMENTARY ON THE GOSPEL OF MATTHEW. [Matt. 9 : 17-19. 



cannot put the new covenant of Christianity into the old ceremonial forms 
of Judaism, as some of Christ's own disciples sought to do afterward. The 
old forms will burst in the attempt, and the new religion will be lost. 
Forcing the old ceremonial rites upon Gentile Christians made them hate 
Judaism, and brought loss to Christianity. Compare Acts 15 : 1-30. Christ 
did not come merely to reform Judaism, as the Pharisees and John's dis- 
ciples thought to do, but to found the new " kingdom of heaven." So the 
old forms of Romanism could not hold the new truths of Protestantism. It 
required new and freer forms for the new truths. 

Suggestive Applications. — 1. Christ's call comes to us while engaged 
in our worldly business. 2. Inviting Christ means inviting his disciples 
also. 3. It is easy to cavil at the conduct of Christians. 4. Those who would 
not allow others to share God's grace with them have little of that grace 
themselves. 5. " Bad men often seek to set good men by the ears." — Henry. 
6. New truths often require new forms of expression ; so a new religion often 
requires new modes of worship. 7. An attempt to patch up an old corrupt 
religion may result in the loss of the old and of the new. 

Raising the Ruler's Daughter and Cure of the Woman of an 

Issue of Blood, vs. 18-26. Mark 5 : 22-43; Luke 8 : 41-56. 

Capernaum, a.d. 28. 

These two miracles are narrated with more detail by Mark and Luke, who 
mention them immediately after the healing of the Gadarene demoniacs. But 
the connection appears to be closer and more definitely fixed in Matthew, 
with the feast and talk about fasting. 

18. there came a certain ruler] As Jesus was saying these things 
about fasting to John's disciples and others, " one of the rulers of the syna- 
gogue, Jairus by name," as Mark tells us, having come, fell down and prayed 
earnestly, saying, "My only daughter, twelve years old, is just dying, or even 
now may be dead, but having come and placed your hand upon her, even she 
shall live." So Jesus arose and with his disciples followed the ruler. The 
synagogue had a number of elders, presided over by a ruler, who had charge 
of its services and affairs. This ruler had an urgent case, but his faith was 
strong enough to believe that even if his daughter were dead, the touch of 
Jesus would cause her to live again. So Christ goes from the house of feasting 
to the house of mourning. 



Common Version. 

17 Neither do men put new wine into old 
bottles : else the bottles break, and the wine 
runneth out, and the bottles perish : but 
they put new wine into new bottles, and 
both are preserved. 

18 f While he spake these things unto 
\hem, behold, there came a certain ruler, 
and worshipped him, saying, My daughter 
is even now dead: but come and lay thy 
hand upon her, and she shall live. 

li) And Jesus arose, and followed him, and 
so did his disciples. 



Revised Version. 

17 rent is made. Neither do men put new 
wine into old * wine-skins : else the skins 
burst, and the wine is spilled, and the 
skins perish : but they put new wine 
into fresh wine-skins, and both are pre- 
served . 

18 While lie spake these things unto them, 
behold, there came 2 a ruler, and wor- 
shipped him, saying, My daughter is 
even now dead: but come and lay thy 

19 hand upon her, and she shall live. Ami 
Jesus arose, and followed him, and so did 



1 That is, skins used as bottles. 2 Gr. one ruler. 



Matt. 9 : 20-23.] 



RAISING THE RULER'S DAUGHTER. 



i09 



20, a woman . . . diseased . . . twelve years] Her disease was 
one which doubtless made her ceremonially unclean. Hence she came un- 
observed behind Jesus and touched him. It is a curious coincidence that the 
ruler's daughter, now dead, was twelve years old, and that this woman had 
suffered twelve years from her grievous disease. She touched the " border " 
or fringe of his garment (see Luke 8 : 44), and the touch of faith cured her. 
The question of Jesus and the discovery of the cure are noticed more fully 
by Mark and Luke. Matthew simply relates that Jesus, having turned and 
looked at her, assured her that her faith had made her whole. The cure was 
instantaneous, " from that hour," or, as we would say, " from that moment." 

23. the people making' a noise] Of the scene which Jesus must have 
witnessed in this eastern house of mourning, we of the western world can 
have only a faint idea. The flute-players, the loud cries, the wailings, the 
gesticulations and the noise and confusion would shock our nerves. Prof. 
Post gives a graphic description of a similar scene which he witnessed in 
Syria. He was called to see a man who had fallen sixty feet into an old 
quarry, injuring his spine and producing paralysis of the lower portions of 
his body. The man lingered for a week. On calling again Dr. Post found 
the hands and feet cold and the pulse nearly gone. While he was watching 
the effect of stimulants on the nearly lifeless man " the wife fell on her knees 
at her husband's feet and began to weep and beat her breast." Soon " the 
sister burst into the room like a maniac, shrieking with anguish, and threw 
herself down by her brother's side as he lay on his bed on the floor, seized his 
hand, and implored him to give her one look. Immediately, while he yet 
breathed, the crowd of women surged into the room and filled it with their 
loud wailings, tossing their arms in the most extravagant gesticulations. At 
first the men pressed back the wife and sister, and endeavored to check the 
shrieks until the sick man should expire. But presently they too yielded to 
the infection and joined in the tumult. No voice of remonstrance or sym- 
pathy could be heard, and no strength of will or power of persuasion could 
restrain the wild, swaying mass which now filled the room and clogged the 
approaches to the house. The chief mourners tore their hair, rent their gar- 
ments, beat their breasts, threw themselves wildly on the ground, invoked the 
dead, implored the bystanders, did everything but pray to God for patience 
and comfort. Little children added their sobs and screams to the clamor, 



Common Version. 

20 Jf And, behold, a woman, which was dis- 
eased with an issue of blood twelve years, 
came behind him, and touched the hem of 
his garment : 

21 For she said within herself, If I may 
but touch his garment, I shall be whole. 

22 But Jesus turned him about, and when 
he saw her, he said, Daughter, be of good 
comfort; thy faith hath made thee whole. 
And the woman was made whole from that 
hour. 

23 And when Jesus came into the ruler's 
house, and saw the minstrels and the people 
making a noise, 

1 Or, saved 



Eevised Version. 

20 his disciples. And behold, a woman, who 
had an issue of blood twelve years, came 
behind him, and touched the border of 

21 his garment: for she said within herself, 
If I do but touch his garment, I shall be 

22 l made whole. But Jesus turning and 
seeing her said, Daughter, be of good 
cheer ; thy faith hath 2 made thee whole. 
And the woman was * made whole from 

23 that hour. And when Jesus came into 
the ruler's house, and saw the flute-play « 



2 Or, saved tfm 



110 



A COMMENTARY ON THE GOSPEL OF MATTHEW. [Matt. 9 : 24-27. 



and I was glad to retire from the harrowing scene, and to reflect on the bless- 
ings of a calm trust in God and a patient resignation to his will. These wail- 
ings last for hours, and but for the speedy burial of the dead would end most 
disastrously to the living." 

24. the maid is not dead, but sleepeth] An old explanation of these 
words was, She is in a stupor, or syncope ; only apparently dead. Another, 
now generally accepted, is, The maid, though really dead, is only temporarily 
so ; she will soon be brought to life, and so may be regarded as only sleeping. 
Compare similar words respecting Lazarus. John 11 : 11-14. 

25. took her by the hand] The noisy crowd having been put out of 
the room — not by Jairus, as Schaff and Riddle infer, but by the act of 
Jesus, as Mark quite distinctly declares — and quiet and order being se- 
cured, Jesus grasped, as with divine, life-giving power, the maid by the 
hand, and she arose. How simple, graphic and sublime the act and the nar- 
rative ! And the record that follows is a plain statement of a historic fact. 
There is no attempt to magnify the miracle, or to excite curiosity by the arts 
of rhetoric — features often found in ordinary human writing — but here facts 
are given simply and majestically, as exactly befits the truth they convey. 

Suggestive Applications. — 1. The highest church dignitary must come 
to Christ on the same footing as the humblest disciple. 2. In sorrow and 
bereavement fly to Jesus for comfort. 3. The touch of faith brings a bless- 
ing. 4. The touch of Christ gives life. 



Healing the Blind and Dumb. vs. 27-34. 

Capernaum (?), a.d. 28. 

27. two blind men] This is the first mention in the Gospels of the cure 
of the blind. There are four particular cases of blindness mentioned as healed 
by our Lord. Each is clearly different from the other. Here are two blind 
and the healing was near Capernaum; a blind man was healed near Beth- 
saida, Mark 8:22-26; a man born blind was healed at Jerusalem, John 
9 : 1-41 ; and two blind men were healed near Jericho, Matt. 20: 30-34. Be- 
sides these particular cases there are several notices of curing this class with 
others, so that the prophecy to which Jesus pointed (Matt. 11:5) had an abun- 
dant fulfillment. Blindness is a very common affliction in the East. The hot 
sun, the burning wind, the limestone dust filling the air, and sleeping in the 
open air, are among the many causes of blindness in the East. The blind 



Common Version. 

24 He said unto them, Give place: for the 
maid is not dead, but sleepeth. And they 
laughed hiin to scorn. 

25 But when the people were put forth, he 
went in, and took her by the hand, and the 
maid arose. 

26 And the fame hereof went abroad into 
all that land. 

27 fi And when Jesus departed thence, two 
blind men followed him, crying, and saying, 
Thou Son of David, have mercy on us. 

i Gr. th 



Revised Version. 

24 ers, and the crowd making a tumult, he 
said, Give place: for the damsel is not 
dead, but sleepeth. And they laughed 

25 him to scorn. But when the crowd was 
put forth, he entered in, and took her by 

26 the hand ; and the damsel arose. And 
1 the fame hereof went forth into all that 
land. 

27 And as Jesus passed by from thence, 
two blind men followed him, crying out, 
and saying, Have mercy on us, thou son 

is fame. 



Matt. 9 : 28-33.] 



HEALING THE BLIND AND DUMB. 



Ill 



crowd the public roads, sit by the wayside begging, sing and call to attract 
passers by; and since hospitals have been opened in Syria, by mission effort, 
full half those coming for treatment are the blind. 

28. Believe ye that I am able] The healing was deferred until he en- 
tered the house, partly to try their faith, partly to get away from the crowd 
and avoid that publicity which would hinder his teaching work. After their 
confession of faith, he says, " According to your faith be it ;" that is, in pro- 
portion to your faith, not because of your faith. And their eyes were opened 
— a proof of the force of their faith. 

30. Jesus straitly charged them] He strictly or sternly charged 
them to tell no man. The Koman Catholic writers, true to their casuistic 
methods, praise the blind for disobeying the Lord; and some of the ancient 
writers declare that Jesus did not intend the charge to be obeyed. We may 
see the gratitude which led the blind to speak, without approving their fla- 
grant disobedience of Jesus. There can be no good excuse for disobeying 
any of our Lord's plain commands. 

32. they brought to him a dumb man] It is generally held by har- 
monists that this miracle is not elsewhere recorded. Yet it is not certain that 
it may not be identical with the case noted in Luke 11 : 14, which is usually 
identified with the one in Matt. 12 : 22. But in the latter case the dumb man 
was blind, a fact not noted by Luke ; nor was that the case in the instance 
here. The demon being cast out, the man's speech was restored — a miracle 
more wonderful than any before known respecting the demoniacs in Israel. 
The wonder of the crowd is set over against the sneering and blasphemous 
charge of the Pharisees, who said that Jesus cast out demons by the arch- 
demon, a charge repeated now, and which he answered on another occasion. 
Matt. 12 : 25-28. A similar belief now prevails in the East respecting some 
possessed, as they suppose, with evil spirits, and which are professedly cast 
out by incantations. 

Suggestive Applications. — 1. The spiritually blind must come to Jesus 
for sight. 2. He may test the faith of the comer, but never denies a request 
made in faith. 3. The sinner is blind, deaf and dumb to the spiritual world 
until Christ casts out the demon of sin from him. 



Common Version. 

28 And when he was come into the house, 
the blind men came to him : and Jesus saith 
unto them, Believe ye that I am able to do 
this? They said unto him, Yea, Lord. 

29 Then touched he their eyes, saying, 
According to your faith be it unto you. 

30 And their eyes were opened ; and Jesus 
straitly charged them, saying, See that no 
man know it. 

31 But they, when they were departed, 
spread abroad his fame in all that country. 

32 ff As they went out, behold, they 
brought to him a dumb man possessed with 
a devil. 

33 And when the devil was cast out, the 
dumb spake: and the multitudes marvelled, 
saying, It was never so seen in Israel. 



Revised Version. 

28 of David. And when he was come into 
the house, the blind men came to him : 
and Jesus saith unto them, Believe ye 
that I am able to do this? They say 

29 unto him, Yea, Lord. Then touched he 
their eyes, saying, According to your 

30 faith be it done unto you. And their 
eyes were opened. And Jesus * strictly 
charged them, saying, See that no man 

31 know it. But they went forth, and 
spread abroad his fame in all that land. 

32 And as they went forth, behold, there 
was brought to him a dumb man pos- 

33 sessed of a demon. And when the demon 
was cast out, the dumb man spake: and 
the multitudes marvelled, saying, It was 



1 Or, sternly 



112 A COMMENTARY ON THE GOSPEL OF MATTHEW. [Matt. 9 : 34-38; io : i. 

The Mission of the Twelve: (1) The Harvest; (2) The Laborers; 

(3) The Twelve, vs. 35-38 ; 10 : 1-4. 

Galilee, a.d. 29. 

35. Jesus went about all the cities and villages] This is a sum- 
mary of the record during the third Galilean circuit, and also during the 
period of his popularity. See also Matt. 4 : 23-25. It also is a fitting intro- 
duction to the mission of the twelve, and is, therefore, closely connected with 
the contents of chapter 10. 

36. when he saw the multitudes] The misery and neglect in which 
Jesus found the people of Galilee stirred his heart with compassion for them, 
for he found them " distressed," or " harassed " as the better text followed in 
the Kevised Version declares. The received text says " fainted," as in the 
Common Version. They were also " scattered," or more strictly " cast down," 
like weary, tired-out sheep, and so appeared like a lost flock, without a 
shepherd. For in the East every flock of sheep required a shepherd to care 
for it, and this is also the case in parts of Scotland. 

37. The harvest truly is plenteous] The meaning is, great multi- 
tudes are to be gathered into the spiritual kingdom, but there are very few 
teachers. Pray therefore to the Lord of the spiritual kingdom that he will 
send forth, literally, that he will "cast out" or "drive forth," laborers into 
his harvest. The original word is the same that is used in v. 25, and it is 
also often applied to the casting out of demons, or to "forcing" one to do 
what he is otherwise reluctant to do. It is used in Mark 1 : 12, where it is 
said that the Spirit "driveth forth" Jesus into the wilderness. Did our 
Lord have any reference to the reluctance with which modern Christians 
undertake the work of teaching in the Sabbath-school, or of preaching the 
gospel at home or abroad ? Must we pray that teachers be " driven " into 
the Sabbath-school ? that missionaries be driven to preaching the gospel at 
home and abroad ? This seems to be the charge. 

10 : 1. called unto him his twelve disciples] This event is called the 
mission of the twelve ; the choice of the twelve had been made before, Luke 



Common Version. 



34 But the Pharisees said, He casteth out 
devils through the prince of the devils. 

35 And Jesus went about all the cities and 
villages, teaching in their synagogues, and 
preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and 
healing every sickness and every disease 
among the people. 

36 *H But when he saw the multitudes, he 
was moved with compassion on them, be- 
cause they fainted, and were scattered 
abroad, as sheep having no shepherd. 

37 Then saith he unto his disciples, The 
harvest truly is plenteous, but the labourers 
are few ; 

38 Pray ye therefore the Lord of the har- 
vest, that he will send forth labourers into 
his harvest. 

CHAP. X. — And when he had called unto 
him his twelve disciples, he gave them 
power against unclean spirits, to cast them 

» Or, In 



Revised Version. 

34 never so seen in Israel. But the Phar- 
isees said, x By the prince of the demons 
casteth he out demons. 

35 And Jesus went about all the cities and 
the villages, teaching in their synagogues, 
and preaching the gospel of the kingdom, 
and healing all manner of disease and all 

36 manner of sickness. But when he saw 
the multitudes, he was moved with com- 
passion for them, because they were dis- 
tressed and scattered, as sheep not hav- 

37 ing a shepherd. Then saith he unto his 
disciples, The harvest truly is plenteous, 

38 but the labourers are few. Pray ye there- 
fore the Lord of the harvest, that he send 
forth labourers into his harvest. 

10 And he called unto him his twelve dis- 
ciples, and gave them authority over un- 
clean spirits, to cast them out, and to heal 



Matt. 10 : 2-4.] 



THE MISSION OF THE TWELVE. 



113 



6:13. They were given power to cast out unclean spirits and to heal every 
kind of sickness and of disease. This power to heal was not the most im- 
portant part of their mission. In fact it was only incidental to their mission 
and was to be used as an attestation of their commission and of their preach- 
ing. See v. 7. 

2-4. the names of the twelve apostles are these] The New Testa- 
ment gives us four lists of the apostles. Each list varies in the order, but 
agrees with others in the names given. This may be seen from the follow- 
ing table : 



I. 



II. 



III. 



Matt. 10 : 3. 


Mark 3 : 16. 


Luke 16 : 14. 


Acts 1 : 13, 26. 


1. Simon Peter, 


Simon Peter, 


Simon Peter, 


Peter, 


2. Andrew, 


James of Zebedee, 


Andrew, 


James, 


3. James of Zebedee, 


John, 


James, 


John, 


4. John, 


Andrew, 


John, 


Andrew, 


5. Philip, 


Philip, 


Philip, 


Philip, 


6. Bartholomew, 


Bartholomew, 


Bartholomew, 


Thomas, 


7. Thomas, 


Matthew, 


Matthew, 


Bartholomew, 


8. Matthew the pub- 


Thomas, 


Thomas, 


Matthew, 


lican, 








9. James of Alphaeus, 


James of Alphseus, 


James of Alphaeus, 


James of Alphaei 


10. Lebbaeus surnamed 








Thaddseus, 


Thaddseus, 


Simon the Zealot, 


Simon the Zeal< 


11. Simon the Ca- 


Simon the Ca- 






nansean, 


nanaean, 


Judas of James, 


Judas of James, 


12. Judas Iscariot. 


Judas Iscariot. 


Judas Iscariot. 


(Matthias). 



In all these lists the names fall into three groups, each group containing 
four names. Peter stands at the head of the first group in ail the lists, and 
Philip at the head of the second group, while James the son of Alphseus 
keeps a similar position at the head of the third group. Further, each of 
the four lists has the same names in each group, except that Matthias takes 
the place of Judas Iscariot in the list in Acts. For Peter is the name which 
Jesus gave to Simon. Andrew is a Greek name, as also is Philip ; they are 
mentioned in connection with Greeks in the temple, John 21 : 22, and are 
common names in classic Greek. Lebbseus, Thaddseus and Judas or Jude, 
the son or brother of James, are four names of one and the same person. 
Bartholomew means the son of Tolmai, and is no doubt identical with Na- 
thanael. Simon the Canaanite is sometimes supposed to have been named 
after the place of his birth or home, but it is more probable that Canaanite 



Common Version. 

out, and to heal all manner of sickness and 
all manner of disease. 

2 Now the names of the twelve apostles are 
these ; The first, Simon, who is called Peter, 
and Andrew his brother; James the son of 
Zebedee, and John his brother; 

3 Philip, and Bartholomew ; Thomas, and 
Matthew the publican ; James the son of 
Alpheus, and Lebbeus, whose surname was 
Thaddeus ; 

4 Simon the Canaanite, and Judas Iscariot, 
who also betrayed him. 

1 Or, Zealot. See Luke 



Revised Version. 

all manner of disease and all manner of 
sickness. 

Now the names of the twelve apostles 
are these : The first, Simon, who is called 
Peter, and Andrew his brother; James 
the son of Zebedee, and John his broth- 
er ; Philip, and Bartholomew ; Thomas, 
and Matthew the publican ; James the 
son of Alphaeus, and Thaddseus; Simon 
the J Cananaean, and Judas Iscariot, wh« 



6:15; Acts 1:13, 



114 



A COMMENTARY ON THE GOSPEL OF MATTHEW. [Matt. 10 : 5, 6 



or Cananaean comes from the Hebrew which means Zealot. Hence he was 
called Simon the Zealot, and perhaps he came from the extreme radical and 
revolutionary party in the Jewish nation known as the Zealots. Judas Is- 
cariot is often said to be the only apostle who did not come from Galilee, 
but this cannot be certainly proved. For a more detailed account of each 
apostle, see SchafFs Dictionary of the Bible and Rice's People's Commentary on 
Mark, p. 51. 
Suggestive Applications. — 1. Jesus has compassion for his people. 

2. There is still an immense spiritual harvest, but few to gather it. 3. Pas- 
tors, evangelists, teachers, missionaries and Christian workers are found in 
answer to prayer. 4. Christians are so reluctant to enter Christ's harvest 
field that prayer must be made to God to "drive" ("force") them in. 5. 
Christ calls and sends out his missionaries. 6. He gives them power against 
the devil and his agencies. 7. He appoints those of widely diverse natural 
gifts and dispositions ; he would have all used for his glory. 

The Charge to the Twelve, vs. 5-15. Mark 6: 8-11; Luke 9:2-5. 

Galilee, a.d. 29. 

5. These twelve Jesus sent forth] For the choosing of the twelve see 
Luke 6 : 13-16. This charge to them is worthy of careful study. It may 
guide teachers now in their gospel work in the Sunday-school, the home and 
by the way. The charge may be divided into three parts: 1. Counsels for 
this temporary mission ; vs. 5-15. 2. Counsels suitable to this and to future 
missions ; vs. 16-28. 3. Counsels for wider service for Christ ; vs. 24-42. 
For these directions extend to the end of this chapter. In this first section 
we consider those relating to the present mission in particular. It closes 
with a " Verily I say unto you," and each of the three divisions of this re- 
markable charge closes in the same words. See vs. 15, §3 and 42. 

GrO not into the way of the Gentiles] The first part of this charge may 
likewise be divided into three topics : 1. To whom to go. 2. What to say. 

3. How to conduct themselves. In this temporary mission, the Gentiles and 
the Samaritans were to be avoided; only the lost of Israel were to be sought. 
The reason for this is not given, but it is not difficult to see. The gospel was 
first to be offered to the promised children of Abraham. When they were 
called, or when they refused to hear, the mission would then be extended to 
the Gentiles. Compare the conduct of the apostles, Acts 13 : 46. It might 
no doubt have tended to close the hearts of the Jews to the gospel had it first 
been preached to the Gentiles, as Lange and others have suggested ; but the 
reason for the limitation is rather to show the Jews and all God's people his 
faithfulness in fulfilling his promises. 



Common Version. 

5 These twelve Jesus sent forth, and com- 
manded them, saying, Go not into the way 
of the Gentiles, and into any city of the 
Samaritans enter ye not : 

6 But go rather to the lost sheep of the 
house of Israel. 



Revised Version. 

5 also * betrayed him. These twelve Jesus 
sent forth, and charged them, saying, 

Go not into any way of the Gentiles, 
and enter not into any city of the Sama- 

6 ritans: but go rather to the lost sheep 



' Or, delivered him up : and so always. 



Matt. 10:7-9.] 



THE CHARGE TO THE TWELVE. 



115 



7. Tlie kingdom of heaven is at hand] This is the old watchword, the 
great battle cry of the early messengers. John the Baptist startled all Judea with 
it in the wilderness. Jesus took it up when John was arrested, and now the 
twelve are charged to re-echo it again throughout all Judea and wherever lost 
Israelites are to be found. What that meant the disciples had heard in the 
sermon on the mount. They were not to tell what they did not know, but they 
now knew much of the weakness and defects of the Judaism of that day, and of 
the need and of the character of the new religion. This they could proclaim. 

8. Heal the sick] This may be called their credentials. A minister or 
missionary has some certificate or paper from the church or churches where 
he is known, which he can show in new regions as evidence that he is prop- 
erly appointed to preach. So Jesus gives his disciples the power to heal the 
sick, cure lepers and cast out demons, as a certificate of their authority and 
proof that their preaching was approved of God. The clause "raise the 
dead " is omitted in some good MSB., but is retained in the Kevised Version. 
Although there is no mention of raising the dead during this mission, there 
is later. Acts 9 : 40. 

9. Provide neither g*old, nor silver, nor brass] or, more accurately, 
" Get you no gold, nor silver," as in the Revised Version. The " brass" refers 
strictly to " copper," the smallest copper coins. Every traveller in Syria 
is painfully aware of the elaborate preparations deemed necessary for a tour 
through that land. There are no hotels in the country towns. The khans 
or caravansaries offer bare rooms only, without furniture, bed or food. Each 
traveller who expects to lodge in them must carry bed, food, cooking utensils, 
and be encumbered with much baggage. 

The "purses" were "girdles," as the Greek signifies. This girdle was 
thus a long, wide strip, which when folded and bound about the loins, see 
Luke 12 : 35, would make a safe and convenient place to carry money. 

Thus the delays usual in getting ready for a tour would be wearisome. 
Jesus would not have the twelve delayed or burdened with any special prep- 
arations. They need not get money for their journey; not even so much as 
the smallest copper coins in their " purses," or " girdles." For in the East 
the folds of the girdle are used to carry their money as we use purses. They 
were not to take a " scrip " (the old English name for a leather wallet, or bag) 
to carry food, nor two " coats." The dress of Asiatics is so different from ours 
that it is difficult to find words to describe their garments exactly. The " coat " 
with them was the " tunic," not an outer but an inner garment ; so that " coat " 
is misleading to American readers. The "tunic" more nearly resembles a 
long waistcoat that might have short sleeves and would reach nearly to the 
knees like a shirt. To wear more than one "tunic" was a mark of wealth or 



Common Version. 

7 And as ye go, preach, saying, The king- 
dom of heaven is at hand. 

8 Heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise 
the dead, cast out devils: freely ye have 
received, freely give. 

9 Provide neither gold, nor silver, nor 
brass in your purses; 



Revised Version. 

7 of the house of Israel. And as ye go, 
preach, saying, The kingdom of heaven 

8 is at hand. Heal the sick, raise the dead, 
cleanse the lepers, cast out demons : free- 

9 ly ye received, freely give. Get you no 
gold, nor silver, nor brass in your 



116 



A COMMENTARY ON THE GOSPEL OF MATTHEW. [Matt. 10:10-15. 



luxury. The twelve were not to get "shoes." Some suppose these were for- 
bidden as more luxurious than sandals, which were permitted. See Mark 
6 : 9. But it is not certain that there was any such distinction then between 
" podemata" shoes, and sandals. The disciples were to go with what clothes 
they had, and not delay to provide extra things for the journey, as tunics, 
shoes and a staff. If they already had these, they were to take them, but 
not delay to get fresh ones. The laborer being worthy of his food, they would 
be provided for by the way. 

11. who in it is worthy] How are we to be supplied? the apostles 
might ask. Jesus answers, In any town " search out who in it is worthy," 
and stay there. Suppose "the house," R. V. (not "a house") — the house 
we have searched out — is not worthy. If the house is unworthy, your sal- 
utation or peace, which is a prayer for a blessing, will have no answer. A 
" worthy " house was one ready to receive the gospel. 

There is a curious passage illustrating this text in the " Teaching of the 
Twelve," written in the second century : " Every apostle who cometh to you, 
let him be received as the Lord : he shall not remain but one day ; or if there 
is need, then the next day ; but if he remains three days he is a false prophet. 
... If he asks silver [money] he is a false prophet. . . . Not every one 
speaking in the spirit is a prophet, not unless he has the conduct of the Lord." 

12. salute it] The seventy were not to salute any man by the way, 
Luke 10 : 4. It was often a wearisome custom, taking much time. Jews 
and Moslems do not salute those of another faith. Response to salutations 
implied sympathy. But they were not to follow a rejection of their 
salutation with an anathema. They were to keep their peace ( " let it return 
to them " ) in sweetness of temper. On leaving they were to shake the dust 
from their feet as a witness. This was a symbolic act in the East, expressing 
a total renunciation of fellowship, and of responsibility in respect to the town 
and its people. The Jew, when he had set foot on heathen soil, shook the 
dust from his feet, so that nothing unclean should cling to him. 

15. more tolerable for the land of Sodom] The persons who have the 
highest spiritual privileges will have the severest judgment if they reject or 



Common Version. 

10 Nor scrip for your journey, neither two 
coats, neither shoes, nor yet staves : for the 
workman is worthy of his meat. 

11 And into whatsoever city or town ye 
shall enter, inquire who in it is worthy ; and 
there abide till ye go thence. 

12 And when ye come into a house,' salute 
it. 

13 And if the house be worthy, let your 

1>eace come upon it : but if it be not worthy, 
et your peace return to you. 

14 And whosoever shall not receive you, 
nor hear your words, when ye depart out of 
that house or city, shake off the dust of 
your feet. 

15 Verily I say unto you, It shall be more 
tolerable for the land of Sodom and Gomor- 
rah in the day of judgment,than for that city. 



Revised Version. 

10 1 purses ; no wallet for your journey, 
neither two coats, nor shoes, nor staff: 
for the labourer is worthy of his food. 

11 And into whatsoever city or village ye 
shall enter, search out who in it is wor- 
thy ; and there abide till ye go forth. 

12 And as ye enter into the house, salute 

13 it. And if the house be worthy, let your 
peace come upon it : but if it be not wor- 

14 thy, let your peace return to you. And 
whosoever shall not receive you, nor hear 
your words, as ye go forth out of that 
house or that city, shake off the dust of 

15 your feet. Verily I say unto you, It shall 
be more tolerable for the land of Sodom 
and Gomorrah in the day of judgement, 
than for that city. 



1 Gr. girdles. 



Matt. 10 : 16, 17.] 



THE CHARGE TO THE TWELVE. 



117 



neglect those privileges. Sodom had no such invitations as the twelve were 
to carry. Those who refused them would suffer more than Sodom. The peo- 
ple of America have greater religious light than Sodom, or Tyre, or even the 
Syrian towns to which the twelve were sent. Their loss will be greater and 
their judgment more awful than any of those of the olden time, if this light is 
not heeded. 

Suggestive Applications. — 1. Teachers get their commissions to teach 
from Christ. 2. Those who give themselves to gospel work are worthy to 
live by the gospel. 3. The gospel teachers are not to be burdened with anxiety 
about how they are to live. 4. They are to preach the kingdom of heaven. 5. 
They are to discover the worthy. 6. Contempt of the gospel goes with con- 
tempt of gospel teachers. 7. Those who refuse the gospel must one day ac- 
count for their refusal. 



The Charge to the Twelve continued: Comforts in Trials and 

Persecutions, vs. 16-31. 

Topics. — Trials in the world, 16-18 ; defence in them, 19, 20 ; persecution, 
21-23 ; the disciples suffer as their master, 24, 25 ; fearlessness of man and 
fear of God, 26-28 ; God's care, 29-31. 

16. I send you] The " I " is emphatic : I, the head of the new kingdom 
and who know all the trials before you, send you out as sheep among the 
wolves of this world. The wolves may fairly represent persecutors. The 
twelve would find some " sheep," some lost " sheep," of Israel, and their mis- 
sion was to them. It is contrary to the main thought to infer, as some do, 
that they were sent to the wolves. They were to become habitually as " wise " 
or " prudent " as the serpents, which are noted for their caution in avoiding 
danger, and as " harmless " or " simple " as the doves, which are equally noted 
for their gentleness and their love. 

17. beware of men] Literally, " Hold yourselves from the men," that 
is, men who will be hostile to your work. It cannot mean all men in the 
absolute sense, as Alexander holds, for some would be disciples and therefore 
co-workers. The next clause shows clearly what men were meant. For 
"they," these men of whom you are to beware, will deliver you up to coun- 
cils, or the local provincial courts ; and in their synagogues will scourge you. 
The officers of the synagogues had power to inflict some punishments, of 
which scourging was one. But the scourging must not exceed forty stripes. 
Deut. 25 : 3. Five times Paul received thirty-nine stripes of the Jews. 2 Cor. 
11 : 24. This was not the same, but less severe than the Roman scourging 
which Jesus received. 



Common Version. 

16 ^ Behold, I send you forth as sheep in 
the midst of wolves: he ye therefore wise as 
serpents, and harmless as doves. 

17 But beware of men : for they will deliver 
you up to the councils, and they will scourge 
you in their synagogues; 



Revised Version. 

16 Behold, I send you forth as sheep in 
the midst of wolves: be ye therefore wise 

17 as serpents, and ' harmless as doves. But 
beware of men : for they will deliver you 
up to councils, and in their synagogue! 



1 Or, simple 



118 



A COMMENTARY ON THE GOSPEL OF MATTHEW. [Matt. 10 : 18-23. 



18. before governors and kings] This and similar allusions in this 
section, vs. 16-24, show that the charges here referred to the future rather 
than to this temporary mission of the twelve. The apostles were before gov- 
ernors, as Felix and Festus ; and before kings, as Herod Agrippa I. and II. , 
and Csesar. Acts 24—26. Thus they were to be a witness unto rulers and to 
nations (not properly "against" them). They were to witness of the truth 
and of Christ before all these. 

19. take no thought] Have no anxious thought, when they deliver you 
up, how or what ye shall answer, for it shall be given you what ye shall 
speak. But when the grounds of their faith were sought, they were else- 
where directed to be ready to give an answer to every man. 1 Pet. 3 : 15. 
So Chrysostom suggests while "the contest is among friends, he commends 
us to take thought ; but when there is a terrible tribunal, and frantic assemblies, 
and terrors on all sides, he bestows the influence from himself." It is a gross 
misapplication of Scripture to quote this text as authority for making no 
preparation for preaching or teaching, and as enjoining extempore sermons. 

21. brother . . . the brother . . . father the child] See Micah 
7 : 6. This is a graphic picture of the bitter hostility against the gospel. It 
would divide families. Brother would deliver up brother, and father child, 
and children parents, not to immediate death, as the language might suggest, 
but to what must and would result finally in their martyrdom. This proved 
true in multitudes of cases during the Neronian and other persecutions. Why 
all this would be done is explained in v. 22. But he that endures, is faithful 
in his confession of Christ, to the end, as long as the trial lasts, or to the end 
of his life, would be saved in the highest sense. He might not be rescued, or 
delivered from his trials, as Alexander implies, but he might be relieved by 
death and be "saved," receiving a martyr's glorious crown. 

23. flee . . • into another] This retreating before persecution would call 
into exercise the prudence or wisdom of the serpent. When a disciple could 
honorably escape persecution he was to do so. In thus preaching and escap- 
ing persecution, they would not have gone through the cities of Israel until 



Common Version. 

18 And ye shall be brought before govern- 
ors and kings for my sake, for a testimony 
against them and the Gentiles. 

19 But when they deliver you up, take no 
thought how or what ye shall speak : for it 
shall be given you in that same hour what 
ye shall speak. 

20 For it is not ye that speak, but the Spirit 
of your Father which speaketh in you. 

21 And the brother shall deliver up the 
brother to death, and the father the child : 
and the children shall rise up against their 
parents, and cause them to be put to death. 

22 And ye shall be hated of all men for my 
name's sake: but he that endureth to the 
end shall be saved. 

23 But when they persecute you in this 
city, flee' ye into another: for verily 1 say 
unto you, Ye shall not have gone over the 
cities of Israel, till the Sou of man he come. 



Revised Version. 

18 they will scourge you ; yea and before 
governors and kings shall ye be brought 
for my sake, for a testimony to them and 

19 to the Gentiles. But when they deliver 
you up, be not anxious how or what ye 
shall speak : for it shall be given you in 

20 that hour what ye shall speak. For it 
is not ye that speak, but the Spirit of 

21 vour Father that speaketh in you. And 
brother shall deliver up brother to death, 
and the father his child: and children 
shall rise up against parents, and * cause 

22 them to be put to death. And ye shall 
be hated of all men for my name's sake: 
but he that endureth to the end, the same 

23 shall he saved. But when they persecute 
you in this city, flee into the next: for 
verily I say unto you, Ye shall not have 
gone through the cities of Israel, till the 
Son of man be come. 



1 Or, put them to death 



MATT. 10:24-28.] THE CHARGE TO THE TWELVE. 119 

the Son of man should come. The meaning of this clause is obscure, but seems 
to be a phrase caught from Dan. 7 : 13, 14, in the prophecy of the founding of 
Christ's kingdom. It may mean until Jesus himself would follow and over- 
take them; or (2) until his second final coming; or (3) until Christ would 
come in temporal judgment on Israel, as at the destruction of Jerusalem ; or 
(4) until Jesus would be manifested as the Messiah or Son of man to the 
world. Each view has able and scholarly advocates, but neither is very sat- 
isfactory. They would not complete their wider mission until Christ's new 
kingdom was fully set up ; indeed mission work would not end until Christ's 
final coming to judge the world. See also under Matt. 24: 14. 

24. disciple is not above his master] Now to comfort them under 
the gloomy prospect of such trials, Jesus declares that he has and will suffer 
like trials with them. They need not expect less nor greater privileges 
than their master. If he willingly shares trials with them, so ought they to 
share them with him. If they have called him, the Master, Beelzebub, or 
Beelzebul, how much more readily will they revile his household servants! 
" Beelzebub " means " lord of flies ; " Beelzebul " is " lord of mist " or "lord 
of the dwelling ;" but either reading and interpretation refers to the evil 
one, Satan. 

2 6. Fear them not] Have no fear of these persecutors, not even their secret 
plots, dark inquisitions or hidden tortures. I know them all ; one day they 
shall be revealed to the gaze of angels, men and devils. I share your trials. 
You need not hide any truth, for all your conduct will also be laid open. 

27. What I tell you in darkness] Jesus often spoke in parables and 
enigmatical sayings to the people, but he explained these to his disciples. 
See parable of the sower, 13: 1-23. The simile here may refer to a custom 
in the synagogue schools, where the master whispered in the ear of an inter- 
preter, who repeated what he heard in a loud voice. So Lightfoot suggests 
in Hor. Heb. The housetops are often used in the East from which to pro- 
claim important official edicts, and to announce the hour of prayer. 

28. fear not them which kill the body] The disciples seem to ask, 
But what if this course costs us our lives ? Jesus answers, True ; but they 



Common .Version. Bevised Version. 

24 The disciple is not above his master, 24 A disciple is not above his 1 master, 
nor the servant above his lord. | 25 nor a 2 servant above his lord. It is 

25 It is enough for the disciple that he be j enough for the disciple that he be as his 



as his master, and the servant as his lord 
If they have called the master of the house 
Beelzebub, how much more shall they call 
them of his household? 
26 Fear them not therefore: for there is 



1 master, and the 2 servant as his lord. 
If they have called the master of the 
house 3 Beelzebub, how much more shall 
26 they call them of his household! Fear 
them not therefore: for there is nothing 



nothing covered, that shall not be revealed ; ! covered, that shall not be revealed ; and 



and hid, that shall not be known 



27 hid, that shall not be known. What I 



27 What I tell you in darkness, that speak j toll you in the darkness, speak ye in the 

ye in light: and what ye hear in the ear, | light: and what ye hear in the ear, pro- 

thai preach ye upon the housetops. j 28 claim upon the housetops. And be not 

2S And fear not them which kill the body, I afraid of them that kill the body, but are 

hut are not able to kill the soul: but rather ! not able to kill the soul: but rather fear 

tear him which is able to destroy both soul him who is able to destroy both soul and 
and body in hell. ' 

1 Or, teacher a Gr. bondservant. s Gr. Beelzebul : and so elsewhere. 



120 



A COMMENTARY ON THE GOSPEL OF MATTHEW. [Matt. 10 : 29-33- 



can only destroy the body ; their power ends there. You need not fear them. 
The body is only the house the man lives in, not the man himself. Fear 
him only who has power to destroy both soul and body in hell. It is absurd 
to suppose with Steir that this refers to the devil. The Scriptures nowhere 
teach us to fear the devil; they teach us to resist him. Nor is this destruc- 
tion equivalent to annihilation, but is consistent with Matt. 25 : 46. 

29. two sparrows sold for a farthing] Sparrows are everywhere in 
Syria. They are caught in many ways, and in great numbers sold cheap in 
the markets of Jerusalem and other cities. But the word for " sparrows " is a 
diminutive, " little sparrows." They are offered for sale now in long strings 
fixed on wooden skewers. 

The Greek word here used for "farthing" is the same as the one used in 
Matt. 5 : 26. It is assarion, which was at an earlier date the unit in Roman 
money. In the time of Christ there was a Greek coin of Antioch in Syria 
called assarion, and also a Roman coin inscribed on one side " S. C," that is, 
"Senatus Consulto," "by decree of the Senate." It is not certain which of 
these coins is here intended. The coin was worth about one cent to one and 
a half cents American money. Not one of these " little sparrows" falls with- 
out your heavenly Father's notice. And over you God's care is so minute 
that every hair of your head is numbered. 

Suggestive Applications. — 1. Christ suffers trials for and with his 
people. 2. Hatred of Christ's disciples is hatred of him. 3. The fields are 
abundant ; the gospel laborer, driven from one, may easily find another field 
of labor. 4. The disciple need not expect to fare better than his master. 5. 
Christian truths are no secrets nor hidden mysteries. 6. God is mindful of 
the comfort of his people. 7. God only is to be feared. 8. The soul is of 
infinitely greater value than the body. 



The Charge to the Twelve concluded. 
Confessing and Following Christ. 



Perils and Rewards of 
vs. 32-42 and 11 : 1. 



32. shall confess me before men] The " whosoever " or " every one " 
is a wide-meaning word, not allowing any exception, nor any one to escape 
the rule laid down. Public confession of Christ on earth will be followed 
by Christ's confession of us before God in heaven. A public denial of 
Christ here will be followed by Christ's denial of us in heaven. Hence the 
Christian is to do his work fearlessly on earth. 



Common Version. 

29 Are not two sparrows sold for a far- 
thing? and one of them shall not fall on 
the ground without your Father. 

30 But the very hairs of your head are all 
numbered. 

31 Fear ye not therefore, ye are of more 
value than many sparrows. 

32 Whosoever therefore shall confess me 
before men, him will I confess also before 
my Father which is in heaven. 

33 But whosoever shall deny me before 

iGr. Gehenna, *Gr 



Revised Version. 

29 body in 1 hell. Are not two sparrows 
sold for a penny? and not one of them 
shall fall on the ground without your 

30 Father: but the very hairs of your head 

31 are all numbered. Fear not therefore; 
ye are of more value than many spar- 

32 rows. Every one therefore who shall 
confess 2 me before men, 3 him will I also 
confess before my Father who is in hea- 

33 ven. But whosoever shall deny me be- 

in me. 8 Gr. in him. 



Matt. 10 : 34-39.] 



THE CHARGE TO THE TWELVE. 



121 



34. Think not that I . . . send peace on earth] The persecutions 
are not accidents. They are the natural result of Christ's work on earth. 
He did not come to " send " or " cast," or, stronger still, as the Greek im- 
plies, " coerce " or " compel," peace on earth. He came to cast a sword, the 
sword of truth, into a world of falsehood. It was Christ against the devil. 
Strife, contention, wars, must be the natural result; for the devil and the 
wicked will fight against the truth. To show how general and how furious 
the contest would be, he gives a specimen of the effect of the gospel in a 
single household, similar to that already noted in v. 21. There it is the 
worldly fighting the disciple ; here it is the disciple forced to differ from the 
worldly. The "daughter-in-law" is strictly a "young bride," who in the 
East is subject not only to her husband, but also to her mother-in-law. The 
gospel would make members of the same home the bitterest foes to the dis- 
ciple in the home. How true that became we know from multitudes of 
cases in times of religious persecutions then and in later days. 

37. loveth father or mother more than me] The disciple is not to 
love father or mother less than is due, but he is to love Christ supremely. 
Love for God may rend families, because some in the family hate God ; but 
love to Christ is higher than love to friends or parents, for God is our Cre- 
ator and Redeemer. He is divine ; they are human. 

38. his cross . • . after me] The Roman custom required the con- 
demned to bear his own cross to the place of execution. As Christ bore his 
cross, so every disciple will have a cross which must be borne for Christ's 
sake. The cross must be taken. Cross-taking and cross-bearing are the lot 
of the disciple. 

39. He that findeth his life] But here again the disciples say, " This 
means death ; what then ?" Jesus answers, Saving the natural life for the 
sake of self or the world is to lose your true life ; losing your natural life 
for the sake of Christ is to save your real, your true life. Life is used in a 
double sense, which gives the force to the paradox. 



Common Version. 

men, him will I also deny before my Father 
which is in heaven. 

34 Think not that I am come to send 
peace on earth : I came not to send peace, 
but a sword. 

35 For I am come to set a man at variance 
against bis father, and the daughter against 
her mother, and the daughter in law against 
her mother in law. 

36 And a man's foes shall be they of his 
own household. 

37 He that loveth father or mother more 
than me is not worthy of me : and he that 
loveth son or daughter more than me is not 
worthy of me. 

38 And he that taketh not his cross, and 
followeth after me, is not worthy of me. 

39 He that findeth his life shall lose it: 
and he that loseth his life for my sake shall 
find it. 



Revised Version. 

fore men, him will I also deny before my 
Father who is in heaven. 

34 Think not that I came to J send peace 
on the earth : I came not to x send peace, 

35 but a sword. For I came to set a man 
at variance against his father, and the 
daughter against her mother, and the 
daughter in law against her mother in 

36 law : and a man's foes shall be they of 

37 his own household. He that loveth 
father or mother more than me is not 
worthy of me: and he that loveth son or 
daughter more than me is not worthy of 

38 me. And he that doth not take his cross 
and follow after me, is not worthy of me. 

39 He that 2 findeth his life shall lose it; 
and he that 3 loseth his life for my saktt 
shall find it. 



iGr. cast. 2 Or, found 3Qr, lott 



122 A COMMENTARY ON THE GOSPEL OF MATTHEW. [Matt. 10: 40-42; 11:1,1 

40. receiveth you receiveth me] What a wonderful statement ! Ke- 
ceiving a disciple is receiving Christ, and receiving Christ is receiving the 
Almighty, who sent him. But what does receiving imply ? Befriending 
persecuted and weary disciples, sympathizing with them, and accepting their 
message in the life and heart. 

41. a prophet's reward] Whoever receives a prophet because he is 
a prophet will receive not merely the reward that a prophet can give, but 
the reward that a prophet receives. Their act indicates a holy spirit, and 
those who receive the righteous for the righteous' sake will have the reward 
the righteous receive. By the same rule God will reward the smallest serv- 
ice, like a cup of cold water to a disciple. 

11:1. lie departed thence to . . . preach] This verse properly belongs 
to chapter 10. It notes the close of the charge to the twelve. Jesus then 
makes another preaching and healing tour in Galilee. Placing this verse in 
chapter 11, and connecting it with the coming of John's two disciples, leads 
the ordinary reader to suppose that this visit followed the "charge." He 
must remember, however, that the " chapters " were not made by the evan- 
gelist. This preaching is probably a continuation of the tour mentioned in 
8 : 35, and therefore of the third Galilean circuit. The time of the visit of 
John's disciples is more definitely noted by Luke as coming earlier than the 
mission of the twelve (Luke 7 : 1-35). 

Suggestive Applications. — 1. An ungodly life is the strongest kind of 
a denial of Christ. 2. A godly life is the best of confessions of Christ. 

3. Death of the body for the life of the soul is small loss for eternal gain. 

4. " No cross, no crown." 5. Rightly receiving a disciple is receiving God. 
6. We may entertain Christ in one of his disciples. 7. God rewards the 
slightest service to his children 

Chap. XL Jesus' Witness to John. vs. 2-1 9. Luke 7 : 18-35. 

Galilee, a.d. 28. 
2. when John had heard in the prison] Why John was in prison is 
explained in 14 : 1-12, and referred to in 4 : 12. The " now " of this verse 



Common Version. 

40 fl He that receiveth you receiveth me ; 
and he that receiveth me receiveth him that 
sent me. 

41 He that receiveth a prophet in the 
name of a prophet shall receive a prophet's 
reward ; and he that receiveth a righteous 
man in the name of a righteous man shall 
receive a righteous man's reward. 

42 And whosoever shall give to di'ink unto 
one of these little ones a cup of cold water 
only in the name of a disciple, verily I say 
unto you, he shall in no wise lose his re- 
ward. 

CHAP. XI. — And it came to pass, when 
Jesus had made an end of commanding 
his twelve disciples, lie departed thence to 
teach and to preach in their cities. 

2 Now when John had heard in the prison 
the works of Christ, he sent two of his dis- } 
ciples, 1 



Revised Version. 

40 He that receiveth you receiveth me, 
and he that receiveth me receiveth him 

41 that sent me. He that receiveth a pro- 
phet in the name of a prophet shall re- 
ceive a prophet's reward , and he that 
receiveth a righteous man in the name 
of a righteous man shall receive a right- 

42 eous man's reward. And whosoever shall 
give to drink unto one of these little ones 
a cup of cold water only, in the name of 
a disciple, verily I say unto you, he shall 
in no wise lose his reward. 

11 And it came to pass, when Jesus had 
made an end of commanding his twelve 
disciples, he departed thence to teach and 
preach in their cities. 

2 Now when John heard in the prison 
the works of the Christ, he sent by hia 



Matt. 11: 3, 4.1 JESUS' WITNESS TO JOHN. 123 



marks the beginning of a new topic in the narrative, but does not fix the 
time. From the other Gospels we learn that this visit came before the mis- 
sion of the twelve, as stated above. The " prison," Josephus says, was the 
strong fortress or castle of Machsertis, about nine miles east of the northern 
end of the Dead Sea. It was the strongest citadel in Palestine outside of 
Jerusalem. Its ruins can still be traced, and are described by Tristram and 
other modern travellers. John sent the message through his disciples; 
Luke distinctly says through " two." The reading " two " in Matthew is 
omitted in the Revised Version, but the change is unimportant. 

3. Art thou he . . . ?] Why did John ask this ? The answers given 
are — (1) To convince his disciples; or (2) To induce Jesus publicly to avow 
his Messiahship ; or (3) To confirm his own faith in Jesus as the Messiah. 
The first is an old explanation held by Greek and Latin fathers from Chry- 
sostom, Origen and Jerome to Calvin and Bengel. The second is advocated 
by Lightfoot (Hor. Heb.) and by several German critics. The third is pro- 
posed by Tertullian and held by many recent writers. It seems more nat- 
ural to conclude that the question was prompted in part by each of these 
three reasons. John, languishing in prison for months, was discouraged, 
as was natural to such a bold, active spirit. Elijah, in whose spirit John 
came, was sorely depressed after the contest with the Baal priests at Carmel 
(1 Kings 19 : 10). John's disciples would also be wavering under such ad- 
verse events. Why was their master kept in prison ? Why did not the 
Messiah come and deliver him ? Was he the Messiah ? Had he declared 
himself to be the coming one ? Why not do so if indeed he were that one ? 
All these questions and half-doubts would trouble John's disciples and 
trouble John himself. Jle resolves to seek light directly from Jesus him- 
self. Hence the messengers and the message. 

4. Jesus answered] But Jesus did not reply, Yes, I am the Messiah. 
That would have been to declare himself publicly as the Messiah ; and, be- 
sides, it would not be the most assuring answer to one in doubt or uncertainty 
in such a case, for any impostor might say that. But an impostor would not 
fulfill definite prophecies about the Messiah. Jesus did ; for, as Luke tells 
us, in the same hour he cured many of diseases, plagues, evil spirits and of 
blindness (Luke 7 : 21). Then he said to the messengers from John, Go and 
tell him what you have seen : the blind receive sight, the lame walk, lepers 
are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised up, and (as the highest proof, 
the climax of all) the poor have the gospel preached to them. These things 
were all foretold of the Messiah (Isa. 35 : 5 ; 42 : 7 ; 61 : 1), and to John, who 
knew prophecy, they would be the strongest confirmation that Jesus was the 
Messiah. Then in v. 6 Jesus adds a gentle reproof for the messengers and for 
their master: Blessed is he that finds no cause for stumbling in me. You 



Common Version. Revised Version. 

3 And said unto him, Art thou he that j 3 disciples, and said unto him, Art thou 
should come, or do we look for another? he that cometh, or look we for another? 

4 Jesus answered and said unto them, (Jo 4 And Jesus answered and said unto them, 
and shew John again those things which ye ! (Jo your way and tell John the things 
do hear and see : I 



124 A COMMENTARY ON THE GOSPEL OF MATTHEW. [Matt. 11 : 5-11. 

expected me to come " fan in hand " to separate the evil from the just, to be 
bold, declaring my messianic power. Do not be offended at my mingling 
with publicans, my manner of work, my refraining from publicly claiming 
to be the Messiah. That might defeat my work. All these are the marks 
of a true character, and as divinely wise as true. 

7. Jesus began to say . • • concerning John] Jesus, having testified 
to John's disciples of himself by pointing only to his works, now testifies to 
the people directly of John. His questions are so framed as to become the 
most emphatic testimony to John's character. Went you out into the wilder- 
ness to see a man as fickle as a reed shaken by a wind ? or went you out to 
see a court dandy, a royal fop, in " soft," that is, in luxurious, dress ? or went 
you out to see a bold, fearless prophet ? A prophet, do you say ? Yea, truly ; 
and more, the prophetic messenger of the new kingdom. See Mai. 3 : 1. 

9, But what went ye out for to see ?] Or, " But wherefore went ye 
out? to see a prophet?" R. V. A negative answer had been assumed to the 
question in v. 7, and a strong negative implied to the question in v. 8. Now 
he comes nearer to the right expectation of the multitudes in going to see 
John the Baptist. They expected to see a prophet. But he was more ; he 
was the messenger announcing the coming of Messiah, and preparing the 
way for his kingdom to be set up. See Dan. 2 : 44. The star out of Jacob, 
and the sceptre out of Israel, is now to appear. See Num. 24 : 17. 

11. a greater than John the Baptist] Having declared that John 
was the divine messenger of the Messiah foretold in prophecy, especially by 
Malachi, Jesus next directly asserts the greatness of John. Among them 
born of woman (suggesting strongly the contrast "born of the Spirit") there 
has not arisen a greater than John. Yet he that is "lesser" (not "least" 
nor " but little," as the English versions read, for it is the comparative, not 
superlative, in Greek) in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he. What 
does this last clause mean ? Who is meant by the " lesser " ? How is he 



Common Version. 



5 The blind receive their sight, and the 
lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, and the 
deaf hear, the dead are raised up, and the 
poor have the gospel preached to them. 

6 And blessed is he, whosoever shall not 
be offended in me. 

7 % And as they departed, Jesus began to 
say unto the multitudes concerning John, 
What Went ye out into the wilderness to 
see? A reed "shaken with the wind? 

8 But what went ye out for to see ? A man 
clothed in soft raiment ? behold, they that 
wear soft clothing are in kings' houses. 

9 But what went ye out for to see? A 
prophet ? yea, I say unto you, and more 
than a prophet. 

10 For this is he, of whom it is written, Be- 
hold, I send my messenger before thy face, 
which shall prepare thy way before thee. 

11 Verily I say unto von, Among them 
that are born of women there hath not risen 
a greater than John the Baptist : notwith- 

1 Or, the gospel 2 Many ancient authorities read But what went ye out to see? a prophet? 



Revised Version. 



5 which ye do hear and see : the blind re- 
ceive their sight, and the lame walk, the 
lepers are cleansed, and the deaf hear, 
and the dead are raised up, and the poor 
have x good tidings preached to them. 

6 And blessed is he, whosoever shall find 

7 none occasion of stumbling in me. And 
as these went their way, Jesus began to 
say unto the multitudes concerning John, 
What went ye out into the wilderness to 
behold? a reed shaken with the wind? 

8 But what went ye out for to see? a man 
clothed in soft raiment! Behold, they 
that wear soft raiment are in kings' 

9 houses. & But wherefore went ye out? 
to see a prophet ? Yea, I say unto you, 

10 and much more than a prophet. This is 
he, of whom it is written, 

Behold, I send my messenger before 

thy face, 
Who" shall prepare thy way before thee. 

11 Verily I say unto you, Among them that 



Matt. ll:12-lfl.J 



JESUS' WITNESS TO JOHN. 



125 



greater than John the Baptist? Among the answers given are — 1. The 
"lesser" refers to Jesus himself, according to Chrysostom, Augustine, 
Luther, etc. ; 2. The " lesser " applies to any disciple in the kingdom of 
heaven, according to the majority of recent evangelical critics. The first 
view is not consistent with the other references of Jesus to himself, though 
it may agree with what John said of himself and the Messiah. Jesus is not 
described as in the kingdom, but as its founder and King. The last view is 
the more satisfactory. How is such a disciple greater than John ? Greater 
not in official position, but greater in privileges. John was the last and 
greater of the prophets of the old dispensation, but only the messenger, the 
forerunner, of the new. He was a disciple still of the old. The disciple, 
trained by the Messiah, in the new dispensation would enjoy clearer and 
more knowledge and greater privileges than John. "John was great in 
nearness to Christ and rank ; but in definite knowledge of Christ's work, the 
feeblest disciple after Pentecost was in advance of him." — John Hall. 

12. the kingdom of heaven suffereth violence] From the announc- 
ing of the kingdom by John, the common people were eager to " grasp " it. 
Crowds followed John, and greater crowds Jesus. The figure is a military 
one of men grasping spoils for themselves. Similar to this is their eagerness 
to get into this new kingdom, and to this kingdom all the prophets and the 
law until John had pointed. Now we have the fulfillment of their proph- 
ecies, for John was the promised Elijah of the new covenant, if ye will 
accept this teaching. It seemed hard to receive this declaration when John 
was held in prison. So the proverb is added in v. 15. For it required 
thoughtful attention to " hear " and heed such teaching in such seemingly 
adverse circumstances. 

16. like unto children sitting in the markets] or "marketplaces." 
In eastern cities the " market places " were more like our open squares. 
They were not only places for marketing — buying and selling, hiring and 
being hired — but were also places of public resort, to tell or learn the news, 
and to hold discussions on great public questions. The children likewise 
resorted thither for play and sports. The figure in this verse is that of com- 
panies of children playing at a mock wedding, and then in a mock funeral. 
But others would not join, with some wishing to play. The children are 



Common Version. 

standing, he that is least in the kingdom of 
heaven is greater than he. 

12 And from the days of John the Baptist 
until now the kingdom of heaven suffereth 
violence, and the violent take it by force. 

13 For all the prophets and the law proph- 
esied until John. 

14 And if ye will receive it, this is Elias, 
which was for to come. 

15 He that hath ears to hear, let him hear. 

16 fl But whereunto shall I liken this gen- 
eration ? It is like unto children sitting in 
the markets, and calling unto their fellows, 



Revised Version. 

are born of women there hath not arisen 
a greater than John the Baptist: yet he 
that is J but little in the kingdom of 

12 heaven is greater than he. And from 
the days of John the Baptist until now 
the kingdom of heaven suffereth vio- 
lence, and men of violence take it by 

13 force. For all the prophets and the law 

14 prophesied until John. And if ye are 
willing to receive 2 it, this is Elijah, who 

15 is to come. He that hath ears 3 to hear, 

16 let him hear. But whereunto shall I 
liken this generation? It is like unto 
children sitting in the marketplaces, 



1 Gr. lesser. * Or, him 3 Some ancient authorities omit to hear. 



126 A COMMENTARY ON THE GOSPEL OF MATTHEW. [Matt. 11:17-20. 



the Jews (not Jesus or John, as some think), who are in childish play, and 
divided, sulky and dissatisfied. In Aramaic v. 17 would be a song: 

" We played ; you would # not dance ; 
We mourned; you would not weep." 

18. For John came] So he illustrates their dissatisfied, petulant spirit. 
John came as a prophet, and with ascetic habits, coarse garments and simple 
manners, and the Jews were not pleased. They said he is a fanatic, a de- 
moniac in his severity and dismal prophecies. Jesus, the Son of man, comes 
a friendly, companionable man, not an ascetic, but eating and drinking like 
other men, and the Jews are not satisfied with him. They cried against the 
austerity of John ; now they howl at the sociableness of Jesus, and call him 
an " eating man," a wine-bibber, a friend of publicans and sinners. So the 
Jews were sour and fault-finding, first with one character and then with its 
opposite. Nothing would suit them. 

19. But wisdom is justified] This was a proverbial expression. The 
reading of the Common Version may mean — (1) The children of the world 
are childish in their acts and judgments, but the acts of the children of wis- 
dom are held to be right by wisdom herself ; or, if the reading of the Re- 
vised Version be taken, (2) The works of wisdom justify her, or, taking the 
marginal reading, " was ;" and the form given in Luke then — (3) In this 
way was wisdom justified by her favorite children, the Jews. This last is, 
of course, in an ironical sense. The first seems the better meaning here. 

Suggestive Applications. — 1. " There may be true faith, yet a mixture 
of unbelief." — Henry. 2. In doubt seek Christ. 3. How great are our priv- 
ileges under the Christian dispensation ! 4. Our appearance and manner 
are to be consistent with our work. 5. Those who would possess the kingdom 
of heaven must strive for it. 6. The best ministers may be over the most 
complaining and fault-finding people. 7. Wise children see and receive the 
truth in whatever form it may come. 

Rejecting and Receiving Christ, vs. 20-30. 

Capernaum(?) or Nain(?), a.d. 28. 
Analysis. — The topics are three: 1. The woes upon the three cities. 2. 
The words of praise to the Father. 3. The gracious invitation. 

20. Then began he to upbraid] The emphasis is on " then," not on 



Common Version. 

17 And saying, We have piped unto you, 
and ye have not danced ; we have mourned 
unto you, and ye have not lamented. 

18 For John came neither eating nor 
drinking, and they say, He hath a devil. 

19 The Son of man came eating and drink- 
ing, and they say, Behold a man gluttonous, 
and a winebibber, a friend of publicans and 
sinners. But wisdom is justified of her 
children. 

20 f Then began he to upbraid the cities 
1 Gr. beat the breast. 2 Or, was 3 Many ancient authorities read children : as in 

Luke 7 : 35. 



Revised Version. 

17 that call unto their fellows, and say, We 
piped unto you, and ye did not dance; 

18 we wailed, and ye did not 1 mourn. For 
John came neither eating nor drinking, 

19 and they say, He hath a demon. The 
Son of man came eating and drinking, 
and they say, Behold a gluttonous man, 
and a winebibber, a friend of publicans 
and sinners! And wisdom 2 is justified 
by her 3 works. 

20 Then began he to upbraid the cities 



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Matt. 11 : 21-23.] 



REJECTING AND RECEIVING CHRIST. 



127 



"began," and marks a change in the narrative and also in our Lord's man- 
ner of teaching the multitude. He began to " upbraid," reproach, chide or 
rebuke the cities in which his " powers," or "miracles," or mighty works had 
been done. In Luke 10 : 13-16, similar words follow the charge to the sev- 
enty. The miracles of Jesus were intended to persuade men to repent, and 
not merely to accept his teaching. 

21. Woe . . . Ghorazin! woe . . . Betlisaida !] This was not "wishing 
woe " upon them, but a judicial and authoritative announcement of their 
hardened spiritual condition and its consequences. Chorazin is represented 
by the ruins at Kerazeh, about two and a half miles north of Tell Hum. 
Jerome places it about two miles from Capernaum. Those who suppose there 
were two Bethsaidas say this woe refers to the western one. But the miracles 
of Jesus in connection with any Bethsaida in the Gospels they concede must 
refer to the eastern Bethsaida. If there were two Bethsaidas so close to- 
gether, would not his " woe " have distinguished the one meant by some ad- 
ditional title? The two Caesareas and the two Antiochs (Acts 13: 14) are thus 
distinguished. It is therefore more probable that there was only one Beth- 
saida, and that was north of Tell Hum and east of Kerazeh (Chorazin) and 
at the north end of the lake, on the west side of Jordan, with a new suburb, 
built by Philip and called Julias, across the stream on the east side. See 
Thomson's Land and Book and Schaff's Dictionary of the Bible. "Sackcloth" 
was a coarse black cloth made of goat's or camel's hair. The garment 
resembled a sack with holes for the head and arms. To sit in it and cast 
ashes on the head was a common mode of mourning and of expressing deep 
sorrow. 

22. more tolerable . . . than for you] Those wicked heathen cities, 
Tyre and Sidon, would have repented at the sight of the miracles seen in 
the Galilean cities, therefore they will have a lighter punishment at the 
judgment. The greater the light resisted the greater the sin and the heavier 
the penalty. 

23. Capernaum . . . exalted unto heaven] or " shalt thou be exalted," 
as in the Revised Version. This refers to its religious privileges, if we follow 
the old text and the Common Version, or to the use it will make of its re- 
ligious advantages, if we follow the revised Greek text and reading. So of 



Common Version. 

wherein most of his mighty works were 
done, hecause they repented not : 

21 Woe unto thee, Chorazin ! woe unto 
thee, Bethsaida ! for if the mighty works, 
which were done in you, had been done in 
Tyre and Sidon, they would have repented 
long ago in sackcloth and ashes. 

22 But I say unto you, It shall be more 
tolerable for Tyre and Sidon at the day of 
judgment, than for you. 

23 And thou, Capernaum, which art ex- 
alted unto heaven, shalt be brought down 
to hell : for if the mighty works, which have 
been done in thee, had been done in Sodom, 
it would have remained until this day. 

1 Qx. powers. 2 Many ancient 



Revised Version. 

wherein most of his l mighty works were 

21 done, because they repented not. Woe 
unto thee, Chorazin ! woe unto thee, 
Bethsaida ! for if the, 1 mighty works had 
been done in Tyre and Sidon which were 
done in you, they would have repented 

22 long ago in sackcloth and ashes. How- 
beit I say unto you, it shall be more tol- 
erable for Tyre and Sidon in the day of 

23 judgement, than for you. And thou, 
Capernaum, shalt thou be exalted unto 
heaven? thou shalt 2 go down unto 
Hades: for if the l mighty works had 
been done in Sodom which were done in 
thee, it would have remained until this 

authorities read be brought down. 



128 



A COMMENTARY ON THE GOSPEL OF MATTHEW. [Matt. 11 : 24-27. 



the next clause^ " brought down " or " go down " to hell, yields nearly the 
same sense, the rejection of Christ's teaching and testimony would bring de- 
struction upon even this, " his own city." The probable site of Capernaum is 
Tell Hum, for Khan Minieh has less weighty claims in its favor. The 
Sodomites will be less severely condemned at the day of judgment than the 
people of Capernaum, Prof. Pluraptre aptly says, "Men are judged not 
only according to what they have done, but . . . according to their op- 
portunities." They are judged according to what they might have done had 
their light and knowledge been greater. 

25. I thank thee, Father] or " I acknowledge thee." The time is 
not closely noted ; in Luke 10 : 21, 22, similar words are connected with the 
return of the seventy. The words signify confession, with praise and thank- 
fulness. If connected with the " woes " that precede, then this is praise and 
joy that God would wisely discriminate in judging different places, according 
to their privileges and the use made of them. The " wise and prudent," or 
" understanding," may refer not alone to the scribes and Pharisees, who 
thought themselves wise and intelligent in the law, but also to the worldly- 
wise and shrewd people of Galilee that rejected Jesus. These things were 
" hid " from them, because they despised them. No pearls are to be cast to 
swine. So the "babes" are those of child-like humility and teachable spirit, 
in contrast with the conceited wisdom of the scribes, and also of the "smart" 
men of the world. 

26. Even so, Father] A paraphrase, rather than a strict translation*, 
literally, " Yea, Father, for such was good pleasure before thee." The mean- 
ing of the Common Version is that Jesus assents to the wisdom of the 
Father's ways; and thus it has passed into a proverb expressive of our sub- 
mission to the mysterious providences of God ; or, following the Greek text, 
it may imply the ground for the praise, " I do thank thee, that it was thy 
good pleasure." The latter is closer to the sense of the original and is pre- 
ferred by critical readers. 

27. knowetll the Son] All things have been delivered over to me by 
my Father. Christ is creator, preserver and judge of all. No one fully knows 
the Son except the Father, and no one fully knows the Father except the Son. 
If Jesus were not divine this would seem blasphemy. The Son is the revealer 
of the Father. 



Common Version. 

24 But I say unto you, that it shall be 
more tolerable for the land of Sodom in the 
day of judgment, than for thee. 

25 f At that time Jesus answered and said, 
I thank thee, O Father, Lord of heaven and 
earth, because thou hast hid these things 
from the wise and prudent, and hast re- 
vealed them unto babes. 

26 Even so, Father ; for so it seemed good 
in thy sight. 

27 All things are delivered unto me of my 
Father: and no man knoweth the Son, but 
the Father ; neither knoweth any man the 



Revised Version. 

24 day. Howbeit I say unto you, that it 
shall be more tolerable for the land of 
Sodom in the day of judgement, than for 
thee. 

25 At that season Jesus answered and 
said, I i thank thee, O Father, Lord of 
heaven and earth, that thou didst hide 
these things from the wise and under- 
standing, and didst reveal them unto 

25 babes : yea, Father, 2 for so it was well- 

27 pleasing in thy sight. All things have 

been delivered unto me of my Father: 

and no one knoweth the Son, save the 



1 Or, praise 2 Or, that 



Matt. 11 : 28-30; 12: 1.] JESUS AND THE SABBATH. 129 

28. Come ... ye that labor] This is the gracious invitation. It fit- 
tingly follows a remarkable revelation of the inner mind and spirit of 
Jesus, that strikingly resemble passages in John's Gospel. This invitation is 
preserved to us by Matthew alone. The heavy laden and weary get no rest, 
unless they accept the call and come to Jesus. " Give you rest," literally, 
" I will make you cease," i. e., from ceaseless toil and crushing burdens. 

29. learn of me] or " take a lesson from me." To take one's yoke 
was to pass into his service. The Pharisees' yoke was too heavy to be borne. 
But Christ's yoke is " easy," literally " profitable," not galling, nor chafing, 
nor useless, as many of the requirements of the Pharisees were. " Take a 
lesson from me," and the lesson was " meekness " and " humility." For Jesus 
was truly " meek " and " lowly," not merely professionally so. Thus bring- 
ing yourselves into this spirit, rest for soul and body will follow, and " my 
yoke " will prove useful, and " my burden," my precepts, lightness itself. 

Suggestive Applications. — Few need be added here to those given 
above. 1. Great gifts bring great dangers. 2. Miracles failed to save Caper- 
naum ; they might fail to save us. 3. The simplicity of the gospel is hid 
from the wise of this world. 4. To the child-like, God reveals his light. 5. 
Sin is the great burden of the world. 6. The weary gain rest by coming, not 
by thinking about coming, to Jesus. 

Chap. XII. Jesus and the Sabbath, vs. 1-13. Mark 2 : 23-3 : 6 ; 

Luke 6 : 1-11. 
Galilee, a.d. 28. 

These events are supposed to have preceded the woes on the cities in the 
last section by some months. Jesus here explains the law of the Sabbath, 
and shows that this law allows — 1. Works of necessity. 2. Works of mercy. 
3. Works required in the worship of God. All these are grounded in the 
fact that " the Sabbath was made for man," that is, for his highest good. 
The healing of the withered hand illustrates this interpretation. 

1. Jesus went on the sabbath day] or "on the sabbaths." There were 
no fences in Palestine, and few hedges. Paths were made through the fields 
of grain ; wagon roads were unknown, except the few great military roads 
made by the Romans. Whither Jesus and his disciples were going on this 
Sabbath the narrative does not state, but they may have been going to a syn- 
agogue service. On this or the following Sabbath he was at such a service ; 



Common Version. 

Father, save the Son, and he to whomsoever 
the Son will reveal him. 

28 f Come unto me, all ye that labour and 
are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. 

29 Take my yoke upon you, and learn of 
me ; for I am meek and lowly in heart : and 
ye shall find rest unto your souls. 

30 For my yoke is easy, and my burden is 
light. 

CHAP. XII. — At that time Jesus went on 
the sabbath day through the corn ; and 
his disciples were a hungered, and began to 
pluck the ears of corn, and to eat. 

9 



Revised Version. 

Father ; neither doth any know the Fa- 
ther, save the Son, and he to whomso- 

28 ever the Son willeth to reveal him. Come 
unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy 

29 laden, and I will give you rest. Take my 
yoke upon you, and learn of me ; for I am 
meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall 

30 find rest unto your souls. For my yoke 
is easy, and my burden is light. 

12 At that season Jesus went on the sab- 
bath day through the cornfields ; and his 
disciples were an hungred, and began to 



130 A COMMENTARY ON THE GOSPEL OF MATTHEW. [Matt. 12:2-8 



see v. 9. Going on a path through the grain, the hungry disciples picked 
the ears of wheat, " rubbed them," as Luke 6 : 1 tells us. This act was not 
stealing, for it was expressly permitted by the law, Deut. 23 : 25. 

2. that which is not lawful] The Mosaic law did not forbid this on 
the Sabbath, but rabbinic tradition did. To pluck ears was reaping, to rub 
them out was threshing, and reaping and threshing on the Sabbath were for- 
bidden ; so Jewish tradition said. One Jewish book names thirty-nine acts 
and many subdivisions of each which were unlawful on the Sabbath. 
" Corn " is the general word in England for any kind of grain, and does not 
mean maize or " Indian corn," as in America. 

3. what David did] The three gospel accounts of this event show that 
Jesus used five arguments to defend the disciples : 1. Example of David. 
2. Of the priests. 3. Mercy required before sacrifice. 4. Sabbath made for 
man. 5. Son of man is Lord of the Sabbath. The case of David and his 
men shows that works of necessity may be done on the Sabbath. The case of 
the priests is similar : works necessary for religious worship may be done on 
the Sabbath. The priests were guiltless, for in serving about the temple on 
the Sabbath they were obeying an explicit command of God. 

6. in this place is one greater] or, "a greater (thing) than the 
temple is here." For the Greek is neuter. It may be Jesus pointed to his 
body as he said this. See John 2 : 19-21. So too the believer's body is the 
temple of the Holy Spirit : greater than any church, cathedral, or even the 
temple at Jerusalem. 

7. I will have mercy] Quoted from Hos. 6 : 6, the second time. See 
Matt. 9 : 13. It is merciful to allow hungry disciples to eat on the Sab- 
bath. 

8. Lord even of the sabbath] Jesus had declared himself greater 
than the temple in v. 6. He now declares himself Lord of the Sabbath. 
His authority is superior even to the law of the Sabbath. Yet he does not 
abolish it, but interprets its right use and points out its holy aim. For an 
excellent discussion of the whole Sabbath question, see The Lord's Day, a 



Common Version. 

2 But when the Pharisees saw it, they said 
unto him, Behold, thy disciples do that which 
is not lawful to do upon the sabbath day. 

3 But he said unto them, Have ye not read 
what David did, when he was a hungered, 
and they that were with him ; 

4 How he entered into the house of God, 
and did eat the shewbread, which was not 
lawful for him to eat, neither for them which, 
were with him, but only for the priests? 

5 Or have ye not read in the law, how that 
on the sabbath days the priests in the tem- 
ple profane the sabbath, and are blameless ? 

6 But I say unto you, That in this place 
is one greater than the temple. 

7 But if ye had known what this meaneth, 
I will have mercy, and not sacrifice, ye 
would not have condemned the guiltless. 

8 For the Son of man is Lord even of the 
sabbath day. 



Revised Version. 

2 pluck ears of corn, and to eat. But the 
Pharisees, when they saw it, said unto 
him, Behold, thy disciples do that which 
it is not lawful to do upon the sabbath. 

3 But he said unto them, Have ye not read 
what David did, when he was an hun- 

4 gred, and they that were with him ; how 
he entered into the house of God, and 

1 did eat the shewbread, which it was not 
lawful for him to eat, neither for them 
that were with him, but only for the 

5 priests ? Or have ye not read in the law, 
how that on the sabbath day the priests 
in the temple profane the sabbath, and 

6 are guiltless ? But I say unto you, that 

2 one greater than the temple is here. 

7 But if ye had known what this mean- 
eth, I desire mercy, and not sacrifice, ye 
would not have condemned the guiltless. 

8 For the Sou of man is lord of the sabbath. 



1 Some ancient authorities read they did eat. a Gr. a greater thing. 



Matt. 12 : 9-13.] 



THE FOES OF CHRIST. 



131 



prize book by Prof. Waffle. Compare also my People's Commentary on Mark, 
pp. 45, 46. 

9. went into their synagogue] Matthew does not say this was on the 
same Sabbath, as Meyer infers ; Luke says it was another Sabbath. The 
synagogue belonged to his enemies and was in some town, but not probably 
Capernaum, for Mark says he afterward withdrew to the sea, and Caper- 
naum was at the sea, Mark 3:7. 

10. Is it lawful to heal] The rabbins said it was only lawful to heal 
on the Sabbath when life was in danger. They wished to arrest Jesus as a 
law-breaker. He answers their question by counter-questions given by Mark 
and Luke : " Is it lawful to do good ?" etc. Then he points out their incon- 
sistency. For they would help a sheep out of a " pit" (or, more broadly, any 
"hole") on the Sabbath; then why not help a man in affliction? A man is 
better than a sheep. Luke notices this argument at another time; see Luke 
13 : 15 ; 14 : 5. No doubt Jesus used this familiar illustration more than 
once. Acts of mercy are lawful on the Sabbath. 

13. Stretch forth thine hand] What caused the hand to wither we 
are not told. There are various causes now known that might produce it. 
The man had no power in the arm to obey the command. But, as he tried, 
he received power : the hand was made whole like the other. So the sinner 
is commanded to obey God's law, but he lacks the power in himself; yet as 
he tries sincerely to obey, he is granted power from God. 

Suggestive Applications. — 1. Harsh and uncharitable judgments 
spring from ignorance. 2. Christ came not to abolish the Sabbath, but to 
free it from traditionalism. 3. The Sabbath is to be used to promote man's 
highest spiritual welfare. 4. Feeding the hungry and caring for the sick 
are lawful on the Sabbath. 5. We are not to cease doing good because 
some oppose or criticise our motives. 

The Foes op Christ, vs. 14-37. Mark 3:7-12, 20-30; Luke 11 : 17-23. 

Galilee, a.d. 28. 
Analysis. — 1. The plot, v. 14. 2. Patience of Jesus, vs. 15-21. 3. Heal- 
ing the blind and dumb demoniac, vs. 22, 23. 4. Charge of Satanic agency, 



Common Version. 

9 And when he was departed thence, he 
went into their synagogue: 

10 fi And, behold, there was a man which 
had his hand withered. And they asked 
him, saying, Is it lawful to heal on the sab- 
bath days? that they might accuse him. 

11 And he said unto them, What man 
shall there be among you, that shall have 
one sheep, and if it fall into a pit on the 
sabbath day, will he not lay hold on it, and 
lift it out? 

12 How much then is a man better than 
a sheep ? Wherefore it is lawful to do well 
on the sabbath days. 

13 Then saith he to the man, Stretch forth 
thine hand. And he stretched it forth ; and 
it was restored whole, like as the other. 



Revised Version. 

9 And he departed thence, and went into 

10 their synagogue: and behold, a man hav- 
ing a withered hand. And they asked 
him, saying, Is it lawful to heal on the 
sabbath day? that they might accuse 

11 him. And he said unto them, What 
man shall there be of you, that shall 
have one sheep, and if this fall into a 
pit on the sabbath day, will he not lay 

12 hold on it, and lift it out? How much 
then is a man of more value than a 
sheep! Wherefore it is lawful to do 

13 good on the sabbath day. Then saith 
he to the man, Stretch forth thy hand. 
And he stretched it forth ; and it waa 



132 



A COMMENTARY ON THE GOSPEL OF MATTHEW. [Matt. 12 : 14-22. 



vs. 24-30. 5. Blasphemy against the Holy Spirit, vs. 31, 32. 6. Pharisees 
rebuked, vs. 33-35. 7. Judged by our words, vs. 36, 37. 

14. Then the Pharisees went out] This was a conference of the 
Pharisees with the Herodians ; a conspiracy to slay Jesus. See Mark 3 : 6. 

15. withdrew himself] The conspiracy of the two strong parties to 
destroy Jesus led him to escape their malice. He left for quiet places by the 
sea. But crowds came to him. He worked many miracles of healing, charg- 
ing the healed not to report him, probably lest it should stir up the opposi- 
tion of his foes. It is wise for Christians to avoid needlessly rousing enmity 
against the gospel. 

17-21. That it might be fulfilled] The prophecy in Isaiah 42: 1-4 
is freely cited from the Hebrew. As Jesus fulfilled this prophecy, here was 
another proof that he was the Messiah. "Servant" is applied to Israel in 
Isa. 41 : 8, but here to Jesus. " Judgment " is used in the wide sense of rule of 
right, or perhaps the " law of Christ," and not as a declaratory sentence of 
God. The reference to the Gentiles is supposed by some to imply that Jesus 
went to the borders of Tyre and Sidon at this time, and hence that withdraw- 
ing to the sea means to the Mediterranean. Compare Mark 3 : 8. His gen- 
tleness and tenderness are set forth by the figures of the " bruised reed," 
which lie would handle so carefully that it would not be broken, and the 
"dimly-burning wick," almost expiring, he would not put out. The souls 
now bent under the Pharisaic exactions he would relieve ; the spiritually 
weak, helpless and hopeless he would not drive to despair. The truth would 
finally overcome all resistance and gain a glorious victory. And because of 
what his name as the Messiah implies, the nations would have hope. 

22. one possessed with a devil, blind and dumb] The demoniac 



Common Version. 

14 fl Then the Pharisees went out, and 
held a council against him, how they might 
destroy him. 

15 But when Jesus knew it, he withdrew 
himself from thence : and great multitudes 
followed him, and he healed them all ; 

16 And charged them that they should 
not make him known: 

17 That it might be fulfilled which was 
spoken by Esaias the prophet, saying, 

18 Behold my servant, whom I have cho- 
sen ; my beloved, in whom my soul is well 
pleased : I will put my Spirit upon him, and 
he shall shew judgment to the Gentiles. 

19 He shall not strive, nor cry ; neither 
shall any man hear his voice in the streets. 

20 A bruised reed shall he not break, and 
smoking flax shall he not quench, till he 
send forth judgment unto victory. 

21 And in his name shall the Gentiles 
trust. 

22 G Then was brought unto him one pos- 
sessed with a devil, blind, and dumb ; and he 
healed him, insomuch that the blind and 
dumb both spake and saw. 



Revised Version. 

14 restored whole, as the other. But the 
Pharisees went out, and took counsel 
against him, how they might destroy 

15 him. And Jesus perceiving it withdrew 
from thence : and many followed him ; 

16 and he healed them all, and charged 
them that they should not make him 

17 known : that it might be fulfilled which 
was spoken through Isaiah the prophet, 
saying, 

18 Behold, my servant whom I have chosen ; 
My beloved in whom my soul is well 

pleased : 
I will put my Spirit upon him, 
And he shall declare judgement to the 

Gentiles. 
He shall not strive, nor cry aloud ; 

19 Neither shall any one hear his voice in 

the streets. 

20 A bruised reed shall he not break, 
And smoking flax shall he not quench, 
Till he send forth judgement unto vic- 
tory. 

21 And in his name shall the Gentiles hope. 

22 Then was brought unto him *one pos- 
sessed with a demon, blind and dumb: 
and he healed him, insomuch that the 



1 Or, a demoniac 



Matt. 12 : 23-31.] 



THE FOES OF CHRIST. 



133 



of 9 : 32 was simply dumb ; here the man is blind also. A similar, or the 
same, case is noted in Luke 11 : 14-23. Mark does not note this healing, but 
does note a similar conversation. Mark 3 : 22-39. 

23. the Son of David] Nothing is more marked in this Gospel than 
the references to Jesus as fulfilling prophecy concerning the Messiah. In 
this case it points out the prevalent view of the people at that time. 

24. but by Beelzebub] See 10 : 25. The wicked charge appears to 
have been spoken in an undertone, or whispered among the Pharisees. 

25. knew their thoughts] Jesus answers their thoughts, thus showing 
them that he knew how evil they were. He does not assert that the kingdom 
of Satan is a unit, but only that if it is acting as they say, it must fall. We 
know that in fact sin divides, that evil powers are often at war among them- 
selves. Yet they often do temporarily agree to oppose Christ and his people. 
The works of Jesus were not merely at war with some, but with all forms of 
evil, and all kinds of wicked beings. 

28. by the Spirit of God] If I by Beelzebub cast out demons, how 
do your children cast them out? See Acts 19 : 13. But if by the Spirit of 
God I cast out demons, then the kingdom is suddenly come among you, 
come unawares. 

29. how can one enter] The thought is, Satan is an enemy, but a 
vanquished one, like a strong man bound. The disciples of the new king- 
dom may enter in and spoil or destroy the possessions of Satan. 

30. not with me is against me] There are in fact only two kingdoms 
in this world ; every man is a member of the new kingdom of heaven, or the 
kingdom of Satan. There is no middle kingdom. There is no neutral ground. 

31. blasphemy against the Holy Ghost] or "the Holy Spirit." 



Common Version. 

23 And all the people were amazed, and 
said, Is not this the Son of David ? 

24 But when the Pharisees heard it, they 
said, This fellow doth not cast out devils, 
but by Beelzebub the prince of the devils. 

25 And Jesus knew their thoughts, and 
said unto them, Every kingdom divided 
against itself is brought to desolation ; and 
every city or house divided against itself 
shall not stand : 

26 And if Satan cast out Satan, he is di- 
vided against himself; how shall then his 
kingdom stand? 

27 And if I by Beelzebub cast out devils, 
by whom do your children cast them out? 
therefore they shall be your judges. 

28 But if I cast out devils by the Spirit of 
God, then the kingdom of God is come unto 
you. 

29 Or else, how can one enter into a strong 
man's house, and spoil his goods, except he 
first bind the strong man? and then he will 
spoil his house. 

30 He that is not with me is against me ; 
and he that gathereth not with me scatter- 
cth abroad. 

31 fl Wherefore I say unto you, All man- 



Revised Version. 

23 dumb man spake and saw. And all the 
multitudes were amazed, and said, Can 

24 this be the son of David? But when the 
Pharisees heard it, they said, This man 
doth not cast out demons, but * by Beel- 

25 zebub the prince of the demons. And 
knowing their thoughts he said unto 
them, Every kingdom divided against 
itself is brought to desolation ; and every 
city or house divided against itself shall 

26 not stand: and if Satan casteth out 
Satan, he is divided against himself; 
how then shall his kingdom stand? 

27 And if I ! by Beelzebub cast out demons, 
*by whom do your sons cast them out? 

28 therefore shall they be your judges. But 
if I 1 by the Spirit of God cast out de- 
mons, then is the kingdom of God come 

29 upon you. Or how can one enter into 
the house of the strong man, and spoil 
his goods, except he first bind the strong 
man? and then will he spoil bis house. 

30 He that is not with me is against me ; 
and he that gathereth not with me scat- 

31 tereth. Therefore 1 say unto you, Ev- 



i Or, in 



134 



A COMMENTARY ON THE GOSPEL OF MATTHEW. [Matt. 12:32-35. 



There is no more comforting assurance in the Scripture than this : that every 
sin may be forgiven. And there is no more awful declaration than the words 
set over against it : that blasphemy against the Spirit shall not be forgiven. 
Speaking against the Holy Spirit shall not be forgiven, literally " either in 
this age or in the coming age." There can be no fair inference from this 
that other sins not forgiven in this life may be forgiven in ' the next world. 
It only distinctly asserts in the strongest possible language that there is no for- 
giveness for the sin of blasphemy against the Spirit. But it is fair to infer that 
retribution for sin never ends ; for this sin at least will never be forgiven. A 
library of volumes has been written to define the " unpardonable sin." It is 
not needful to speculate on its precise character.* Nor is it worth while to 
waste words in regard to the guilt of the Pharisees' sin at this time. It is 
certain that willfully charging the work of the Spirit as due to the agency of 
Satan was coming dangerously near to that sin, if it were not committing it. 
It is enough to say, of this awful sin, that willful antagonism to the Spirit's 
work, and treasonable words springing from a treasonable heart in a disciple 
against the Spirit of God, would speedily bring one into such a hardened 
state that he would never want forgiveness, and never be forgiven. The Jews 
hoped that every sin would be atoned for by death. Hence Jesus in opposi- 
tion to this added that blasphemy against the Holy Spirit would not be 
pardonable here, nor in the coming world by death. 

33. make the tree good] Either honestly admit that the tree and the 
fruit are good, or that the tree and the fruit are bad. The tree cannot be 
good and the fruit bad, nor can the tree be bad and the fruit good. See 7 : 17. 

34. generation of vipers] "offspring" or brood of vipers or snakes. 
John had used this language ; now the gentle Jesus applies it to the hardened 
Jews. See 3 : 7. And he explains the figurative language of v. 33 by this 
direct assertion. A man cannot belie his character; if he is evil, he must 
bring forth evil in his life. 



Common Version. 

ner of sin and blasphemy shall be forgiven 
unto men : but the blasphemy against the 
Holy Ghost shall not be forgiven unto men. 

32 And whosoever speaketh a word against 
the Son of man, it shall be forgiven him: 
but whosoever speaketh against the Holy 
Ghost, it shall not be forgiven him, neither 
in this world, neither in the world to come. 

33 Either make the tree good, and his fruit 
good; or else make the tree corrupt, and 
his fruit corrupt : for the tree is known by 
his fruit. 

34 O generation of vipers, how can ye, 
being evil, speak good things? for out of 
the abundance of the heart the mouth 
speaketh. 

35 A good man out of the good treasure 
of the heart bringeth forth good tilings: 

1 Or, age 



Revised Version. 

ery sin and blasphemy shall be forgiven 
unto men ; but the blasphemy against 

32 the Spirit shall not be forgiven. And 
whosoever shall speak a word, against the 
Son of man, it shall be forgiven him ; but 
whosoever shall speak against the Holy 
Spirit, it shall not be forgiven him, nei- 
ther in this x world, nor in that which is 

33 to come. Either make the tree good, and 
its fruit good ; or make the tree corrupt, 
and its fruit corrupt: for the tree is 

34 known by its fruit. Ye offspring of 
vipers, how can ye, being evil, speak 
good things? for out of the abundance 

35 of the heart the mouth speaketh. The 
good man out of his good treasure bring- 



*The sixteenth Article of 1552 says: "Blasphemy against the Holy Ghost is when a man 
of malice or stubbornness of mind doth rail upon the truth of God's word manifestly per- 
ceived." 



Matt. 12 : 36-39.] 



WRONG VIEWS ABOUT CHRIST. 



135 



36. eyery idle word] The Pharisees might reason to themselves, We 
are not so corrupt. So Jesus seems to answer such a thought. Not merely 
blasphemous, but " idle " or " useless " words will be reckoned in the day of 
judgment. Though you may not be active in evil, if you waste your words 
in " idle," purposeless talk, bringing no good, you will be condemned. And 
because these " words " indicate the character and heart out of which they 
spring, therefore they will become the basis of acquittal or sentence at the 
last day. 

Suggestive Applications. — 1. If our gospel work arouses such anger as 
to hinder its progress, we may change our field of labor. 2. " The bruised 
reed : a soul bowed down under a sense of sin ; smoking flax : a soul in 
which a spark of divine life is still left." — Heubner. 3. Christ is to destroy 
the works of the devil. 4. " The worst devils are those who pretend to be 
the most spiritual." — Lange. 5. " An evil treasure, a wretched possession." 
— Heubner. 6. Acts and words are an index to character ; by them we shall 
be judged. 7. A sin that is forgiven is forgiven eternally ; a sin that is un- 
forgiven, and unforgivable, remains unforgiven forever. 



Wrong Views about Christ, vs. 38-50. Compare Luke 11 : 16-36 

and 8 : 19-21 ; Mark 3 : 31-35. 

Galilee, a.d. 28. 

Analysis. — A sign wanted, v. 38 ; sign of Jonah, vs. 39-41 ; the queen of 

Sheba, v. 42 ; the unclean spirit and the seven spirits, vs. 43-45 ; our Lord's 

mother and brethren, vs. 46-50. 

38. we would see a sign] This does not imply that Jesus had worked 
no signs or miracles. The Pharisees charged that those " signs " came from 
him, or might come from hell. They demanded a sign which surely came 
from heaven. Luke 11 : 16. 

39. adulterous generation] "Adulterous" is a frequent word in the 
Old Testament for " idolatrous," and is doubtless so used here. Signs enough 
had been given ; a sign to confirm their false views of the Messiah could not 
be given. So the only sign or type was that of Jonah. As he was three days 
in a " whale," or, more accurately, a great " sea monster" — probably referring 
to the white shark, found sixty feet long in the Mediterranean — so Jesus 



Common Version. 

and an evil man out of the evil treasure 
bringeth forth evil things. 

36 But I say unto you, That every idle 
word that men shall speak, they shall give 
account thereof in the day of judgment. 

37 For by thy words thou shalt be justi- 
fied, and by thy words thou shalt be con- 
demned. 

38 If Then certain of the scribes and of 
the Pharisees answered, saying, Master, we 
would see a sign from thee. 

39 But he answered and said unto them, 
An evil and adulterous generation seeketh 
after a sign ; and there shall no sign he given 
lo it, but the sign of the prophet Jonas : 



Revised Version. 

eth forth good things : and the evil man 
out of his evil treasure bringeth forth 

36 evil things. And I say unto you, that 
every idle word that men shall speak, 
they shall give account thereof in the 

37 day of judgement. For by thy words 
thou shalt be justified, and by thy words 
thou shalt he condemned. 

38 Then certain of the scribes and Phar- 
isees answered him, saying, ' Master, we 

3i> would see a sign from thee. But he an- 
swered and said unto them, An evil and 
adulterous generation seeketh after a 
sign ; and there shall no sign be given 
to it but the sign of Jonah the prophet: 



1 Or. Teacher 



136 



A COMMENTARY ON THE GOSPEL OF MATTHEW. [Matt. 12 : 40-45. 



would be in the "heart of the earth," meaning the grave, for the same 
time. This temporary death and the resurrection would prove his Messiah- 
ship. 

41« tliey repented] The men of Nineveh repented when warned by 
Jonah ; but the Jews resisted one far greater than Jonah, even Jesus. See 
Jonah 3 : 5. 

42. queen of the south] That is, the queen of Sheba, 1 Kings 10 : 1, 
which is supposed to be Sahara, a fertile district in Arabia bordering on the 
Red Sea. This heathen queen came from these remote parts of the earth to 
hear Solomon ; but this generation will not hear a greater than Solomon. 
So the Ninevites and this queen by their conduct have condemned, and at 
last will condemn, this generation, for they heard persons much less in au- 
thority than Jesus ; how much more then would they have heard him, if 
they had stood in the place of the Jews of Jesus' time ! 

43-45. the unclean spirit] This illustration of the unclean spirit 
may apply to — 1, the Jewish nation ; 2, that generation ; 3, Christian peoples ; 
4, individuals. The idolatrous spirit had been cast out of the Jewish nation. 
They ought to have been in a state to receive the Messiah's kingdom. But 
the evil spirit, wandering about in a state of unrest, decides to return. He 
finds the Jewish nation in a condition that invites his return. The traditions 
and formalism made it as suitable as if empty and swept for him. So he 
takes seven other evil spirits with him, and the nation becomes sevenfold 
more wicked and possessed with demons than before. The Jews reject Christ, 
and even utter blasphemies against him. In a similar way it may apply to 
the partial reforms at different times in the Church of Rome, or partial re- 
forms in individuals, ending in a worse state. 



Common Version. 

40 For as Jonas was three days and three 
nights in the whale's belly; so shall the 
Son of man be three days and three nights 
in the heart of the earth. 

41 The men of Nineveh shall rise in judg- 
ment with this generation, and shall con- 
demn it: because they repented at the 
preaching of Jonas ; and, behold, a greater 
than Jonas is here. 

42 The queen of the south shall rise up in 
the judgment with this generation, and shall 
condemn it: for she came from the utter- 
most parts of the earth to hear the wisdom 
of Solomon; and, behold, a greater than 
Solomon is here. 

43 When the unclean spirit is gone out of 
a man, he walketh through dry places, seek- 
ing rest, and flndeth none. 

44 Then he saith, I will return into my 
house from whence I came out ; and when 
he is come, he findeth it empty, swept, and 
garnished. 

45 Then goeth he, and taketh with him- 
self seven other spirits more wieked than 
himself, and they enter in and dwell there: 
and the last state of that man is worse than 
the first. Even so shall it be also unto this 
wicked generation. 

1 Gr. sea-monster. 2 Gr. more 



Revised Version. 

40 for as Jonah was three days and three 
nights in the belly of the x whale ; so 
shall the Son of man be three days and 
three nights in the heart of the earth. 

41 The men of Nineveh shall stand up in 
the judgement with this generation, and 
shall condemn it: for they repented at 
the preaching of Jonah; and behold, 2 a 

42 greater than Jonah is here. The queen 
of the south shall rise up in the judge- 
ment with this generation, and shall con- 
demn it : for she came from the ends of 
the earth to hear the wisdom of Solomon ; 
and behold, 2 a greater than Solomon is 

43 here. But the unclean spirit, when 3 he 
is gone out of the man, passeth through 
waterless places, seeking rest, and find- 

44 eth it not. Then 3 he saith, I will return 
into my house whence I came out ; and 
when 3 he is come, 3 he findeth it empty, 

45 swept, and garnished. Then goeth 3 he, 
and taketh with 4 himself seven other 
spirits more evil than 4 himself, and they 
enter in and dwell there: and the last 
state of that man becometh worse than 
the first. Even so shall it be also uhtu 
this evil generation. 

than. 3 Or, it * Or, itself 



Matt. 12:46-50; IS.] 



PARABLE OF THE SOWER. 



137 



46. mother and brethren] or "brothers," for the Greek word adelphoi 
has that meaning. The inference is that these were real brothers, as the 
mother was his real mother. There are various views on the meaning of 
"brethren," and the question of whether Jesus had natural brothers has 
been long disputed. 1. Roman Catholic writers say he had not, because of 
their idea of the holiness of Virgin Mary. 2. The Greek Church admits 
that the "brothers" were sons of Joseph by a former marriage. 3. Most 
Protestant writers say they were children of Joseph and Mary. See 13 : 55. 

49. toward his disciples] The preceding discourse appears to have 
been in some house. The mother and near relatives are alarmed by the ex- 
citement of the Pharisees, and by Jesus' incessant labor. They seek to speak a 
word of caution to him privately, perhaps. They want him to rest, as well as 
to be prudent in speech. Their wish to see him is made known by the crowd. 
Compare Luke 8 : 19 ; Mark 3 : 21, 31. Jesus seizes on this incident to de- 
clare his spiritual relationship to the disciples, and to show how close it is : 
nearer even than the dearest natural ties of family, of brother, sister and 
mother. 

Suggestive Applications. — 1. Signs may attest, but will not surely 
make us believe, the truth. 2. Heathen often shame those in Christian lands, 
by their faith and conduct. 3. The half-converted, relapsing, become seven- 
fold worse than before. 4. Obedient believers are the nearest relatives of 
Christ. 5. To be disciples is to be members of Christ's family ; how great 
the dignity and the privilege ! 



Chap. XIII. Parable of the Sower, vs. 1-23. Compare Mark 

4:1-20; Luke 8 : 4-18. 
Near Capernaum, a.d. 28. 
This is the great parable chapter of the New Testament. It contains seven 
parables on the kingdom of heaven. The first four were spoken to the mul- 
titudes from a boat on the Lake of Galilee ; the last three to the disciples in a 
house. The explanation of the tares was also given to the disciples alone. 
It is suggested that the parable of the sower is an introduction to the 
whole, while the remaining six fall into pairs — the second and seventh, the 
third and fourth, and the fifth and sixth, corresponding to each other. Each 



Common Version. 

46 If While he yet talked to the people, 
behold, his mother and his brethren stood 
without, desiring to speak with him. 

47 Then one said unto him, Behold, thy 
mother and thy brethren stand without, 
desiring to speak with thee. 

48 But he answered and said unto him 
that told him, Who is my mother ? and who 
are my brethren? 

49 And he stretched forth his hand toward 
his disciples, and said, Behold my mother 
and ray brethren ! 

50 For whosoever shall do the will of my 
Father which is in heaven, the same is my 
brother, and sister, and mother. 



Revised Version. 

46 While he was yet speaking to the mul- 
titudes, behold, his mother and his breth- 
ren stood without, seeking to speak to 

47 him. iAnd one said unto him, Behold, 
thy mother and thy brethren stand with- 

48 out, seeking to speak to thee. But he 
answered and said unto him that told 
him, Who is my mother? and who are 

49 my brethren? And he stretched forth 
his hand towards his disciples, and said, 
Behold, my mother and my brethren ! 

50 For whosoever shall do the will of my 
Father who is in heaven, he is my bro- 
ther, and sister, and mother. 



1 Some ancient authorities omit v. 47. 



J 38 A COMMENTARY ON THE GOSPEL OF MATTHEW. [Matt. 13» 

pair sets forth the same general truth. This and the sacred number seven can 
hardly be accidental. 

Parables. — Meaning? interpretation ? why used? These three questions 
call for answers. 1. What is a parable? Parable, from the Greek parabole, 
means " putting side by side," hence " comparison." It is sometimes used to 
translate the Hebrew mashal, which is strictly a "proverb." Yet many 
eastern parables are expanded proverbs, and some proverbs are condensed 
parables. Roughly then, a parable is a real or supposed natural and prob- 
able incident, used to set forth some analogous but higher spiritual truth. 
It differs from the proverb, which puts truth in the form of a maxim or apho- 
rism; from the/able, which teaches some moral truth and includes unnatural 
and improbable things, as brutes reasoning and talking ; and from the alle- 
gory, in veiling spiritual truth which requires interpretation. 2. How to in- 
terpret a parable? In harmony with the spiritual truth to which it relates. 
This may usually be ascertained from the context, (a) It is not to be re- 
garded as the origin or prime source of dogma or doctrine. This must be 
sought in other direct statements of Scripture. (6) A meaning is not to be 
sought for every minute detail of the parable, nor (c) need the meaning 
always be limited only to one main point. Yet it is a sound maxim, "Every 
comparison must halt somewhere." Tillotson said a parable and its inter- 
pretation are not two planes, but often a globe and a plane touching at one 
point. But Jesus gives us the best guide in his own interpretation of the sower 
and of the tares and the wheat. Study them and learn to interpret others. 3. 
Why teach in parable? See vs. 10-17. Fuller says "these parables [in this 
chapter] are not unlike the pillar of cloud and fire, which gave light to the 
Israelites, but was a cloud of darkness to the Egyptians." They illustrate 
the truth, and more : they prove the truth to those who are seeking for it. 
They conceal it from those who are determined to destroy or not to accept the 
truth. Jesus says this would be the effect of his speaking in parables in this 
chapter. Compare Matt. 11 : 25 ; 16 : 17 ; Mark 4 : 11, 12. 

The seven parables in this chapter were probably, though not certainly, 
spoken on the same day. They were not given in a continuous discourse, 
for some were spoken from a boat and some in a house. A unity of thought 
runs through the whole seven. They all relate to the kingdom of heaven. 
They indicate the principles and methods which characterize the progress of 
that kingdom. But the view of Lange, following Bengel (and apparently 
adopted by Schaff), that these parables foretell historical eras of the Chris- 
tian Church is untenable. He makes the sower represent the apostolic age ; 
the tares, the ancient Catholic Church with its heresies ; the mustard seed, 
the Church in the era of Constantine the Great ; the leaven, the influence of 
the Church in mediaeval ages; the hid treasure, the period of the Reforma- 
tion ; the pearl, Christianity and modern culture; and the drag-net, the last 
judgment. This is very ingenious, but would for the most part be utterly 
meaningless to the multitudes and to the disciples to whom these parables 
were originally spoken. The unity of thought consists in the parable setting 
forth principles of universal application in all eras and in all periods of the 



Matt. 13 : 1-4.] 



PARABLE OF THE SOWER. 



139 



progress of the kingdom of heaven on the earth. Four of these parables are 
found in Matthew only : the tares, the hid treasure, the pearl, and the drag- 
net. 

1. The same day] This seems to fix the order of events. It is true that 
the word for "day " is sometimes used in the same broad sense as with us, to 
meama " period " or " season ;" but the context is decisive here for the nar- 
rower sense. This also marks a change in the methods of Christ's teach- 
ing. Compare Luke 8 : 11 and Mark 4 : 12. From this time he frequently 
uses the parable in speaking to mixed multitudes. 

2. into a ship, and sat] or " into a boat." This was a strikingly pictur- 
esque scene. The smooth lake, the shelving beach with boulders, the back- 
ground of hills and the city near by, the crowds standing on the shore, a little 
boat a few yards out on the lake, Jesus with his disciples sitting in the boat, 
the divine Teacher speaking to the listening multitudes on shore ! Thom- 
son says, " As if on purpose to furnish seats, the shore on both sides of these 
narrow inlets [near Tell Hum, or Capernaum] is piled up with smooth 
boulders of basalt." But Matthew says the " multitude stood on the shore." 
On the custom of teachers sitting while teaching, see 5:1. The boat was 
no doubt a fishing-boat, perhaps belonging to Peter and Andrew. Jesus 
may have sat in the prow or front end ; the boat gently rocking as he 
spoke, though the waters of Galilee are often quiet and smooth as those of a 
pond. 

3. spake ... in parables] On the meaning of parable and its in- 
terpretation see introduction to this chapter. Behold . . . sower. " The 
sower " might perhaps have been seen from the boat, scattering his seed on 
the hillsides above the lake. Jewish tradition gives two forms of sowing, 
one by hand, the other by throwing a sack with small holes and full of seed, 
on the back of an ox or ass, so that as the animal moved along the seed 
would be thickly scattered. Sown in this way the seed might fall on all 
kinds of ground ; but the other form of sowing by hand answers all of the 
conditions of the parable. 

4. he sowed ... by the way side] In this parable the seed is all 
good. There are four kinds of ground in which the seed fall. Only narrow 
hard foot-paths, not fences, divided one field from another. Some seed would 
naturally fall in this path. The birds, very plentiful in Palestine and watch- 
ing the sower, quickly swoop down and devour the seed. The hard path 



Common Version. 

CHAP. XIII.— The same day went Jesus 
out of the house, and sat by the sea 
side. 

2 And great multitudes were gathered to- 
gether unto him, so that he went into a ship, 
and sat ; and the whole multitude stood on 
the shore. 

3 And he spake many things unto them 
in parables, saying, Behold, a sower went 
forth to sow ; 

4 And when he sowed, some seeds fell by 
the way side, and the fowls came and de- 
voured them up : 



Revised Version. 

13 On that day went Jesus out of the 

2 house, and sat by the sea side. And 
there were gathered unto him great mul- 
titudes, so that he entered into a boat, 
and sat ; and all the multitude stood on 

3 the beach. And he spake to them many 
things in parables, saying, Behold, the 

4 sower went forth to sow ; and as he 
sowed, some seeds fell by the way side, 
and the birds came and devoured theiu: 



140 



A COMMENTARY ON THE GOSPEL OF MATTHEW. [Matt. 13 : 5-12. 



represents a hard, dull mind hearing the word, but not understanding it ; the 
birds, representing the evil one, the devil (Luke 8 : 12), come and snatch 
away the seed, the words sown in its heart. See v. 19. 

5. fell upon stony places] or " others [of the seed] fell upon the rocky 
places." It does not refer to soil filled with stones, but to large rock 
covered with very thin soil. The seed in such a warm spot would grow 
quickly, and as quickly wither in the sun. This is the heart that very zeal- 
ously accepts the truth, yet, swayed by strong impulse only, gives up as soon 
as its zeal cools or trials come. See vs. 20, 21. 

7. fell among thorns] Thorns are remarkably abundant and of gi- 
gantic size in Palestine. They grow with wonderful rapidity. Grain would 
soon be stifled, choked down by the thick thorns. This thorny soil repre- 
sents those who hear the word, but the cares of the world and the eager 
desire to be rich choke out the word, as the thorns do the wheat. See v. 22. 
Mark adds, "the lust of other things," and Luke "the pleasures of this life." 
The thorns stand for any and all worldly influences from without the man. 

8. fell into good ground] The soil properly prepared is fruitful in 
different degrees. It represents the heart that receives and understands the 
word. The fruit-bearing varies in different persons according as native 
ability and gifts of grace vary ; and it also varies at different periods in 
the same believer. See v. 23. 

10. the disciples came] This seems to imply that it was after they 
had left the boat. The words are not such as would naturally be applied 
to a request from the disciples while together in a boat. 

11. to know the mysteries] The secret or hidden things of the king- 
dom were imparted only to the initiated, the disciples. Those who willfully 
resist and fight the truth do not have it forced upon their attention. Again 
it is an illustration of the proverb, no " pearls before swine." 



Common Version. 

5 Some fell upon stony places, where they 
had not much earth : and forthwith they 
sprung up, because they had no deepness of 
earth : 

6 And when the sun was up, they were 
scorched ; and because they had no root, 
they withered away. 

7 And some fell among thorns; and the 
thorns sprung up, and choked them : 

8 But other fell into good ground, and 
brought forth fruit, some a hundredfold, 
some sixtyfold, some thirtyfold. 

9 Who hath ears to hear, let him hear. 

10 And the disciples came, and said unto 
him, Why speakest thou unto them in par- 
ables? 

11 He answered and said unto them, Be- 
cause it is given unto you to know the mys- 
teries of the kingdom of heaven, but to 
them it is not given. 

12 For whosoever hath, to him shall be 
given, and he shall have more abundance: 
but whosoever hath not, from him shall be 
taken away even that he hath. 



Revised Version. 

5 and others fell upon the rocky places, 
where they had not much earth : and 
straightway they sprang up, because 

6 they had no deepness of earth : and 
when the sun was risen, they were 
scorched ; and because they had no root, 

7 they withered away. And others fell 
upon the thorns; and the thorns grew 

8 up, and choked them: and others fell 
upon the good ground, and yielded fruit, 
some a hundredfold, some sixty, some 

9 thirty. He that hath ears 1 , let him hear. 

10 And the disciples came, and said unto 
him, Why speakest thou unto them in 

11 parables? And he answered and said 
unto them, Unto you it is given to know 
the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, 

12 but to them it is not given. For who- 
soever hath, to him shall be given, and 
he shall have abundance: but whosoev r 
hath not, from him shall be taken away 



1 Some ancient authorities add here, and in v. 43, to hear : as in Mark 4:9; Luke 8 : 8. 



Matt. 13 : 13-19.] 



PARABLE OF THE SOWER. 



141 



13. Therefore ... in parables] The heart ready to hear the truth 
has it offered ; to the one resisting or perverting it, the truth does not 
come, or comes only veiled in parables. See introduction, Parables, p. 138. 

14. is fulfilled the prophecy] The words describing the mission of 
Isaiah are here applied also to the effect of Christ's mission and teaching. 
Here again Matthew points out how Jesus proves himself the Messiah in 
the fulfillment of prophecy. 

15. lest . • . they should see] Their spiritual dullness and resist- 
ance to the truth bring on further moral inability to perceive it. 

16. blessed . . • your eyes] This was said to the disciples. There 
is blessedness in a right disposition towards the truth, as willingness to 
receive it, even before we know what it is. 

17. many prophets and righteous men have desired] The Old 
Testament saints looked forward to the coming of the Messiah. For further 
notes on why Jesus taught in parables, see general note at the beginning of 
the chapter. On vs. 18-43, see notes on vs. 3-8. 

Suggestive Applications. — 1. Teach wherever you have an opportunity, 
by the seaside, in the house, or on the road. 2. There are mysteries in the 
kingdom of heaven. 3. They are not revealed to unbelievers, but are known 
to believers. 4. The seed is the word ; the four kinds of soil are four gen- 
eral conditions of the heart. 5. There is (1) the heart that is like a high- 
way, hard; (2) the shallow heart, like the shallow soil on the hard rock ; 
(3) the thorny heart, full of worldly cares ; (4) and the good heart, ready 
to become fruitful. 6. There are grades of gifts and of graces, and degrees 
of fruitfulness in Christians. 



Common Version. 

13 Therefore speak I to them in parables : 
because they seeing see not ; and hearing 
they hear not, neither do they understand. 

14 And in them is fulfilled the prophecy 
of Esaias, which saith, By hearing ye shall 
hear, and shall not understand; and seeing 
ye shall see, and shall not perceive : 

15 For this people's heart is waxed gross, 
and (heir ears are dull of hearing, and their 
eyes they have closed ; lest at any time they 
should see with their eyes, and hear with 
their ears, and should understand with their 
heart, and should be converted, and I should 
heal them. 

16 But blessed are your eyes, for they see : 
and your ears, for they hear. 

17 For verily I say unto you, That many 
prophets and righteous men have desired 
to see those tilings which ye see, and have 
not seen them; and to hear those things which 
ye hear, and have not heard them. 

18 \ Hear ye therefore the parable of the 
sower. 

19 When any one heareth the word of the 
kingdom, and understandeth it not, then 
cometh the wicked one, and catcheth away 
that which was sown in his heart. This is 
he which received seed by the way side. 



Revised Version. 

13 even that which he hath. Therefore 
speak I to them in parables ; because see- 
ing they see not, and hearing they hear 

14 not, neither do they understand. And 
unto them is fulfilled the prophecy of 
Isaiah, which saith, 

By hearing ye shall hear, and shall in 

no wise understand; 
And seeing ye shall see, and shall in no 

wise perceive : 

15 For this people's heart is waxed gross, 
And their ears are dull of hearing, 
And their eyes they have closed ; 

Lest haply they should perceive with 

their eyes, 
And hear with their ears, 
And understand with their heart, 
And should turn again, 
And I should heal them. 

16 But blessed are your eyes, for they see; 

17 and your ears, for they hear. For verily 
I say unto you, that many prophets and 
righteous men desired to see the things 
which ye see, and saw them not; and to 
hear the things which ye hear, and heard 

18 them not. Hear then ye the parable of 

19 the sower. When any one heareth the 
word of the kingdom, and understand- 
eth it not, then cometh the evil one, and 
snatcheth away that which hath been 



142 



A COMMENTARY ON THE GOSPEL OF MATTHEW. [Matt. 13 : 20-27. 



Parable of the Wheat and the Tares, vs. 24-30, 36-43 

Given by Matthew only. 

Galilee, a.d. 28. 

24. sowed good seed] In the parable of the sower all the seed was 
good. The sower was the same. The soil varied — path-trodden soil, thin 
soil on the rock, thorny soil and good soil. Here all the soil is alike good, 
but there are two kinds of seed, and two sowers — one good, the other bad. 
This parable sets forth — (1) The mixed character of the kingdom on the 
earth ; (2) The patience and wisdom of the head of this kingdom ; (3) The 
artful ways of Satan ; (4) The final separation of the righteous from the 
wicked. It will be most convenient to treat the parable and the interpreta 
tion together. Here, then, the sower is " the Son of man ;" the seed are the 
children of the kingdom ; the field is the world. See vs. 37, 38. 

25. while men slept] That is, during the night, the time for sleep. 
The enemy was hidden by the darkness when he sowed the tares ; so the 
devil is veiled as a spiritual being when he sows evil seed in the heart. The 
servants of Christ would not see him, perhaps, if they were awake. The men 
are not blamed for this. It is quite gratuitous to suppose that this implies 
culpable negligence or stupor, as D. Brown and Lange suggest. The Church 
may often be guilty of this, but Jesus does not here charge the men with it, 
nor allude to this part of the figure in his interpretation. Hence it is prob- 
ably a part of the dress of the parable, and means simply " at night." 

his enemy . . . sowed tares] "The enemy is the devil" (v. 39) ; "the 
tares are the children of the wicked one" (v. 38). Malicious neighbors in 



Common Version. 

20 But he that received the seed into stony 
places, the same is he that heareth the word, 
and anon with joy receiveth it ; 

21 Yet hath he not root in himself, but 
dureth for a while : for when tribulation or 
persecution ariseth because of the word, by 
and by he is offended. 

22 He also that received seed among the 
thorns is he that heareth the word ; and the 
care of this world, and the deceitfulness of 
riches, choke the word, and he becometh 
unfruitful. 

23 But he that received seed into the good 
ground is he that heareth the word, and 
understandeth it ; which also beareth fruit, 
and bringeth forth, some a hundredfold, 
some sixty, some thirty. 

24 f Another parable put he forth unto 
them, saying, The kingdom of heaven is 
likened unto a man which sowed good seed 
in his field : 

25 But while men slept, his enemy came 
and sowed tares among the wheat, and went 
his way. 

26 But when the blade was sprung up, 
and brought forth fruit, then appeared the 
tares also. 

27 So the servants of the householder came 
and said unto him, Sir, didst thou not sow 
good seed in thy field? from whence then 
hath it tares ? 

1 Or, age 2 Or, darnel 



Revised Version. 

sown in his heart. This is he that was 

20 sown by the way side. And he that was 
sown upon the rocky places, this is he 
that heareth the word, and straightway 

21 with joy receiveth it; yet hath he not 
root in himself, but endureth for a while ; 
and when tribulation or persecution aris- 
eth because of the word, straightway he 

22 stumbleth. And he that was sown 
among the thorns, this is he that hear- 
eth the word ; and the care of the * world, 
and the deceitfulness of riches, choke the 

23 word, and he becometh unfruitful. And 
he that was sown upon the good ground, 
this is he that heareth the word, and un- 
derstandeth it ; who verily beareth fruit, 
and bringeth forth, some a hundredfold, 
some sixty, some thirty. 

24 Another parable set he before them, 
saying, The kingdom of heaven is likened 
unto a man that sowed good seed in his 

25 field : but while men slept, his enemy 
came and sowed 2 tares also among the 

26 wheat, and went away. But when the 
blade sprang up, and brought forth fruit, 

27 then appeared the tares also. And the 
3 servants of the householder came and 
said unto him, Sir, didst thou not sow 
good seed in thy field? whence then 



3 Gr. bondwvaiite. 



Matt. 13 : 28, 29.] PARABLE OF THE WHEAT AND THE TARES. 



143 



the East often sow tares among the wheat secretly at night out of revenge 
for some real or imaginary injury. An obviously strong point in the parable 
is the close resemblance of the tares to the wheat. At first they cannot be 
distinguished apart ; but when the stalk is half-grown, the slender stem and 
narrow leaf of the tares enable an experienced husbandman to separate them 
from the stouter stem and broader leaf of the wheat or barley. But there is 
a bearded darnel or tares which closely resembles the true grain, until the 
head appears. In this case the tares were not easy to be detected until the 
grain was ready for harvesting. 

So for a time it is not easy to detect the hypocrite, the false professor from 
the true. Again, if the darnel or tares should be mixed and ground with the 
wheat, as sometimes occurs in Syria now, the bread made of this adulterated 
flour is unwholesome, producing dizziness and a species of intoxication re- 
sulting in serious illness. Then too, if, as some (Edersheim) suppose, the 
ancient Syrians believed the tares to be a degenerate kind of wheat, there 
would be added force in the figure. 

The Greek word for " tares" is a Greek spelling of an Oriental term. The 
writers in the Talmud call it zunin and the Arabic name is zuwdn. Thomson 
says the taste of Syrian tares is bitter, and it often acts as a violent emetic. 
In fact it is a strong soporific poison, and must be carefully winnowed and 
picked out of the grain before grinding. The plant is specifically different 
from wheat, and not of an allied family, as Trench was misled by older writers 
to suppose. The " sowing over" the field with such seed showed deep malice, 
the spirit of a demon. It also implied that the field had been previously 
sowed with some seed. The servants might think a blight or "evil eye" 
had come upon the field ; but the master understood an enemy had done it, 
and so declared. 

28. Wilt thou . . . gather them up !] The enemy sowed the tares, 
and went his way, so his work would not be known. Thus the devil comes 
into the Church, sows his tares, and goes his way. He does this so secretly 
that no one is aware of the devil's presence. He leaves his seed to do its 
Satanic work. When the wheat comes to fruit, then the tares, the counter- 
feit of the wheat, are noticed. Shall we root them out? Nay. Are we to 
give up all church discipline then? Nay. For observe, the "field" is the 
world, not the Church. The " bond servants," like the Roman Catholics, 
with more zeal than discretion, would root out and burn all the " heretics." 
Note the two modes of discipline : " Out with the heretics," or, " Let both 
grow together until the harvest." Nor need the Church expect a pure 
communion in its militant state. The destructive methods of extirpating the 
evil from the " field," the world, by inquisition, sword, fagot, are positively 
forbidden by the householder, the owner of the field. The kingdom is to 



Common Version. 

28 He said unto them, An enemy hath 
done this. The servants said unto him, Wilt 
thou then that we go and gather them up? 

29 But he said, Nay ; lest while ye gather 



Revised Version. 

28 hath it tares? And he said unto them, 
*An enemy hath done this. And the 
2 servants say unto him, Wilt thou then 

29 that we go and gather them up? But he 



1 Gr. A man that is an enemy, 



* Gr. bondservants. 



144 



A COMMENTARY ON THE GOSPEL OF MATTHEW. [Matt. 13 : 30. 



remain to some extent of a mixed character until the angel reapers come. 
It is another form of the truth taught elsewhere — in the world, but not of 
the world. See John 17 : 14, 15. Leave the "good and bad" together in tha 
field until the Son of man orders a separation by competent spiritual 
agents. 

BO. I will say to the reapers] The reapers are not the "servants," 
but the " angels." They know the " tares," and they know the wheat. They 
are to gather the tares first. V. 41 indicates that there are several kinds of 
spiritual tares. But the angel reapers will not leave any of them, nor will 
they mistake any wheat for tares. Tares will be bound for burning. Com- 
pare vs. 30, 42 and 7 : 19 with 25 : 46. The harvest is the end of the world — > 
of this age or dispensation. 

gather the wheat] After the tares are gathered, the Church purified 
by the angel reapers, then the righteous will shine forth — a figure reminding 
us of Dan. 12:3. Men cannot make a perfect separation between those who 
simulate discipleship and those who are true disciples. The final judgment 
will make such a separation. This truth is again taught in the parable of 
the drag-net (vs. 47-50), and in 25 : 28-46. The figures in this parable 
then, briefly explained, are — the sower of the good seed is the Son of man, 
the field is the world, the good seed the children of the kingdom. The sower 
of the tares is the devil, the tares are the wicked, his children ; the harvest 
is the end of the world, the reapers the angels ; then the wicked will be 
finally punished and the good finally rewarded. 

Suggestive Applications. — 1. The world is Christ's "field," and there- 
fore the place for his servants to labor. 2. There will be tares and wheat 
growing together in this field until the end of the world. 3. The devil sows 
the seeds of evil in the world. 4. The Master has great patience when his 
servants have only rash zeal. 5. There will be a final separation of the 
wicked from the righteous. 

Five Parables on the Kingdom, vs. 31-35 ; 44-50. 

The mustard seed, vs. 31, 32 ; the leaven, vs. 33-35 ; hid treasure, v. 44 ; 
pearl of great price, vs. 45, 46 ; the drag-net, vs. 47-50. 

Compare Mark 4 : 30-32, Luke 13 : 18-21, on the first two parables ; the 
last three are given by Matthew only. 

The kingdom of heaven is represented — 1. In its external growth. 2. Its 
pervasive and internal power. 3. It is providentially found. 4. Its sub- 
jects are sought. 5. There will be a final separation between its subjects 
and the subjects of Satan's kingdom; between the righteous and the wicked. 



Common Version. 

up the tares, ye root up also the wheat with 
them. 

30 Let both grow together until the har- 
vest : and in the time of harvest I will say- 
to the reapers, Gather ye together first the 
lares, and bind them in bundles to burn 
Jhem : but gather the wheat into my barn. 



Revised Version. 

saith, Nay; lest haply while ye gather 
up the tares, ye root up the wheat with 
30 them. Let both grow together until the 
harvest: and in the time of the harvest 
I will say to the reapers, Gather up first 
the tares, and bind them in bundles to 
burn them: but gather the wheat into 
my barn. 



Matt. 13:31-33.] FIVE PARABLES ON THE KINGDOM. l4f> 

31. a grain of mustard seed] The mustard is very common in Pal- 
estine. The Sinapis nigra and alba, or eastern mustard, grows wild, and is also 
cultivated. It is a shrub growing as high as a horse's head, and bears 
pods, the first kind having black, the latter white, seed. It is often large 
enough for birds to lodge and to make nests in its branches. Some have 
supposed that the S. Persica and the East India Khardal was the mustard of 
Scripture. Dr. Royle, an eminent botanist, wrote a treatise in favor of this 
view. He says it is a large plant growing to the height of some 25 feet. 
Lightfoot also speaks of old writers who say that a man could climb into it, 
as into a fig tree. Trench (on Parables) and Stanley adopted this view. 
But Dr. Hooker and other later botanists say that the Khardal does not grow 
in Palestine. The Sinapis or eastern mustard is plentiful in Syria, and as it 
answers the conditions of the parable it is now quite widely accepted as the 
plant intended by mustard of the Scripture. 

32. least of all seeds] Or, "less than all seeds" that are sown, and 
greater than the herbs, becoming so large as to be classed with trees. There 
was a rabbinical proverb, "small as a mustard-seed," current in our Lord's 
day. This parable sets forth the rapid growth of the kingdom from very 
small and humble beginnings, speedily commanding attention by its size and 
the comforts it offers to the homeless spiritual wanderers on earth. 

33. like unto leaven] This parable has been variously understood 
and misunderstood. Some have held that the woman represented the 
Church, as the agent depositing the leaven ; others that the leaven repre- 
sents evil ; and others still that the three measures of meal represent the 
threefold nature of man, "body, soul and spirit." Does leaven or yeast 
here represent evil or truth : the diffusive power of evil or of righteousness, 
thnt is, in the "kingdom of heaven"? In other passages of Scripture 
leaven or yeast does represent the power of evil, except in Lev. 23 : 17. 
Compare Ex. 12:15; Lev. 2:11; 1 Cor. 5 : 6-8. In the passover service 
one essential point commemorated was the haste with which the Israelites 
were to depart from Egypt. They had no time to wait for leaven to work, so un- 
leavened bread was to be used. Then leaven commonly in Scripture is used to 
represent the diffusive power of wrong teaching by religionists. The language 
here is explicit : the " kingdom of heaven is like leaven." Some infer that it is 



Common Version. 



31 f Another parable put he forth unto 
them, saying, The kingdom of heaven is like 
to a grain of mustard seed, which a man 
took, and sowed in his field : 

32 Which indeed is the least of all seeds : 
but when it is grown, it is the greatest 
among herbs, and becometh a tree, so that 
the birds of the air come and lodge in the 
branches thereof. 

33 Jf Another parable spake he unto them ; 
The kingdom of heaven is like unto leaven, 
which a woman took, and hid in three meas- 
ures of meal, till the whole was leavened. 



Revised Version. 



31 Another paYable set he before them, 
saying, The kingdom of heaven is like 
unto a grain of mustard seed, which a 

32 man took, and sowed in his field: which 
indeed is less than all seeds ; but when it 
is grown, it is greater than the herbs, 
and becometh a tree, so that the birds 
of the heaven come and lodge in the 
branches thereof. 

33 Another parable spake he unto them ; 
The kingdom of heaven is like unto 
leaven, which a woman took, and hid in 
three » measures of meal, till it was all 
leavened. 

!The word in the Greek denotes the Hebrew seah, a measure containing nearly a peck 
and a half. 

10 



MO 



A COMMENTARY ON THE GOSPEL OF MATTHEW. [Matt. 13:34-48. 



like leaven in having the power of evil introduced into it. But if this were 
the meaning, Jesus would have said it is " like three measures of meal •" 
and thus we should be forced to the conclusion that evil is finally to triumph 
in the " kingdom of heaven," for all the meal becomes leavened. 

The right interpretation is the simple one, that here the kingdom of heaven 
is likened, in its diffusive and pervasive power in any community, to leaven 
in meal or dough : it permeates every part of the community and of the soul. 
It is not unusual for the same natural object to be used to represent the power 
of evil and of good. The lion is a symbol of the devil, 1 Pet. 5 : 8, and also 
of Christ, Kev. 5:5. It must be noted also that in 1 Cor. 5 : 7 it is the old 
leaven that is to be put out. The yeast in the parable is a figure of the per- 
vasive, assimilating and transforming power of the kingdom of heaven. As 
yeast turns dough into nourishing and palatable bread, so the power of this 
kingdom would transform humanity. Then too it is often "hidden" as the 
leaven, and it is doing its work unobserved, but surely. The "three meas- 
ures," or " seahs," were equal to an ephah, or over thirty quarts ; a very 
large quantity, showing how pervasive and powerful was the influence. This 
wonderful power of the kingdom was internal, noiseless, and yet effective as 
long as there was any material left to be transformed by it. 

35. That it might be fulfilled] Ps. 78 : 2. Again the fulfillment of 
prophecy is noted as proof that Jesus was the Messiah. 

On vs. 36-43, see above. 



Common Version. 

34 All these things spake Jesus unto the 34 
multitude in parables : and without a para- 
ble spake he not unto them : 

35 That it might be fulfilled which was 35 
spoken by the prophet, saying, I will open 
my mouth in parables ; I will utter things 
which have been kept secret from the foun- 
dation of the world. 

36 Then Jesus sent the multitude away, 36 
and went into the house: and his disciples 
came unto him, saying, Declare unto us the 
parable of the tares of the field. 

37 He answered and said unto them, He 
that so weth the good seed is the Son of man ; 

38 The field is the world; the good seed 
are the children of the kingdom; but the 
tares are the children of the wicked one ; 

39 The enemy that sowed them is the 39 
devil ; the harvest is the end of the world ; 
and the reapers are the angels. 40 

40 As therefore the tares are gathered and 
burned in the fire ; so shall it be in the end 
of this world. 41 

41 The Son of man shall send forth his 
angels, and they shall gather out of his 
kingdom all things that offend, and them 
which do iniquity ; 42 

42 And shall cast them into a furnace of 
fire: there shall be wailing and gnashing of 43 
teeth. 

43 Then shall the righteous shine forth as 
the sun in the kingdom of their Father. 
Who hath ears to hear, let him hear. 

l Many ancient authorities omit of the world. 



Eevised Version. 

All these things spake Jesus in par- 
ables unto the multitudes; and without 
a parable spake he nothing unto them: 
that it might be fulfilled which was 
spoken through the prophet, saying, 

I will open my mouth in parables ; 

I will utter things hidden from the 
foundation *of the world. 
Then he left the multitudes, and went 
into the house: and his disciples came 
unto him, saying, Explain unto us the 
parable of the tares of the field. And he 
answered and said, He that soweth the 
good seed is the Son of man*, and the 
field is the world ; and the good seed, 
these are the sons of the kingdom ; and 
the tares are the sons of the evil one; 
and the enemy that sowed them is the 
devil : and the harvest is Uhe end of the 
world; and the reapers are angels. A| 
therefore the tares are gathered up and 
burned with fire; so shall it be in 2 the 
end of the world. The Son of man shall 
send forth his angels, and they shall 
gather out of his kingdom all things that 
cause stumbling, and them that do iniq- 
uity, and shall cast them into the fur- 
nace of fire : there shall be the weeping 
and gnashing of teeth. Then shall the 
righteous shine forth as the sun in the 
kingdom of their Father. He that hath 
ears, let him hear. 

* Or, the consummation of Vie age 



Matt. 13:44,45.] 



FIVE PARABLES ON THE KINGDOM. 



147 



44. like treasure hid in a field] The parables of the mustard seed and 
of the leaven form a pair ; this and the parable of the pearl naturally fall also 
into a pair. The narrative implies that this pair and the parable of the 
drag-net were spoken to the disciples alone in the house. In countries like 
Palestine, where governments were weak and treasures of all kind insecure, 
it was common for people to hide their treasures. About forty years ago 
several copper pots containing gold coin of the age of Philip of Macedon 
were found by workmen digging in a garden in Sidon. A friend showed me 
one of these coins, which had kept bright, though showing every other mark 
of great antiquity. The owner probably hid them two thousand years ago ; 
so they were now practically without an owner, and the property of the 
finder. Compare Thomson, Land and Book, vol. i. p. 197. Selling all, as the 
apostles had done, is one needful requirement to gain the treasure. Buying 
the field would be regarded as an effort to act honestly, according to the judg- 
ment of eastern conscience. Jesus does not imply that all these acts are ab- 
solutely honest. The design of the parable is to teach the great value of the 
kingdom, and that some find who do not seek for it. To this class the woman 
of Samaria, the jailer at Philippi, the centurion, and the lame man at the 
temple belonged. This fulfills the prophecy, "I am found of them that 
sought me not," Isa. 65 : 1. 

45. like unto . . . seeking" goodly pearls] In this parable the great 
value of the kingdom is again set forth as in the hid treasure. But now the 
travelling merchant or jeweller is seeking the precious jewels. It is the 
merchant (not "merchantman," which now means a trading vessel) to whom 
the kingdom is like. Such travelling jewellers, " merchants," are still com- 
mon in the East. They search for pearls and jewels of particular purity, 
precious and of the highest value, so that their wealth may be easily 
carried and easily concealed. The meaning of the parable usually given is 
that it represents those who are seekers after God. They have many pearls, 
as morals, desires for holy things and the like. They find the one pearl 
Christ, and sell all to get him. But this requires us to regard the pearl and 
the merchant as together representing the kingdom. It gives us a con- 
fusion of figure and lacks the clearness of the other parables, if this is the 
meaning. "The kingdom of heaven is like unto a man that is a merchant" 
(see Revised Version) is the explicit language. It is not said the kingdom 
is like the pearl of great price. The merchant may be the kingdom as rep- 
resented in Christ, seeking his people ; the pearl, his chosen Church, for 
which he lays aside his glory, and his life on the cross, to secure redemption 
and to found his Church on earth. 



Common Version. 

44 f Again, the kingdom of heaven is like 
unto treasure hid in a field ; the which when 
a man hath found, he hideth, and for joy 
thereof goeth and selleth all that he hath, 
and buyeth that field. 

45 fl Again, the kingdom of heaven is like 
unto a merchantman, seeking goodly pearls: 



Revised Version. 

44 The kingdom of heaven is like unto a 
treasure hidden in the field; which a 
man found, and hid ; and 1 in his joy he 
goeth and selleth all that he hath, and 
buyeth that field. 

45 Again, the kingdom of heaven is like 
unto a man that is a merchant seeking 



1 Or, for joy thereof 



118 



A COMMENTARY ON THE GOSPEL OE MATTHEW. [Matt. 13:46-52 



47. like unto a net] A drag-net or seine was a common mode of fish- 
ing in the Lake of Galilee. See notes under 4 : 20. This parable closely 
resembles that of the tares in its general teaching. Like that it distinctly 
teaches the final separation of the wicked from the righteous. It differs, for 
the tares teach that good and evil are to continue to grow together side by 
side, which is not necessarily taught in the drag-net. The final separation 
of the two sorts gathered is the chief point of the parable, as Jesus himself 
has explained it. The internal polity of the kingdom is pictured, with its 
creeds and schools of thought. ' ' Diversity without unity is discord ; unity 
without diversity is death," runs an old proverb. 

52. every scribe • . • instructed ... is like ... a householder] 
The scribes were to interpret the law. He was " instructed," literally " dis- 
cipled " or taught, to do this. As the householder brought from his stores 
or storehouses, new and old, grain just gathered and grain that had been kept 
and hardened for use, so the scribe would bring forth truths from the old law 
and the newer gospel ; old truths in new forms, with new explanations and 
applications, the new agreeing and being in harmony with the old. Eder- 
sheim observes that these parables were not only un-Jewish but anti-Jewish 
in their teaching. Whence came these ideas of the kingdom of heaven to 
Jesus of Nazareth ? Whence, if not from him as the Son of God ? 

Suggestive Applications. — 1. The grace of God in the heart springs 
up into a life of usefulness. 2. God's grace in the soul permeates all the 
faculties and powers of the man. 3. The gospel diffuses itself into every 
part of society, and if not hindered will transform it. 4. The gospel is a 
rich treasure, of more value than philosophy, science, or the richest jewels. 
5. All are seeking goodly pearls ; Jesus gives his life for his Church — to him 
the pearl of great price. 6. The gospel net gathers every kind : some are 
good, some utterly worthless. 7. The utterly bad will be cast out. 



Common Version. 

46 Who, when he had found one pearl of 
great price, went and sold all that he had, 
and bought it. 

47 % Again, the kingdom of heaven is like 
unto a net, that was cast into the sea, and 
gathered of every kind : 

48 Which, when it was full, they drew to 
shore, and sat down, and gathered the good 
into vessels, but cast the bad away. 

49 So shall it be at the end of the world: 
the angels shall come forth, and sever the 
wicked from among the just, 

50 And shall cast them into the furnace 
of fire : there shall be wailing and gnashing 
of teeth. 

51 Jesus saith unto them, Have ye under- 
stood all these things? They say unto him, 
Yea, Lord. 

52 Then said he unto them, Therefore 
every scribe which is instructed unto the 
kingdom of heaven, is like unto a man that 
is a householder, which bringeth forth out 
of his treasure things new and old. 



Revised Version. 

46 goodly pearls: and having found one 
pearl of great price, he went and sold all 
that he had, and bought it. 

47 Again, the kingdom of heaven is like 
unto a x net, that was cast into the sea, 

48 and gathered of every kind : which, when 
it was filled, they drew up on the beach ; 
and they sat down, and gathered the good 
into vessels, but the bad they cast away. 

49 So shall it be in 2 the end of the world: 
the angels shall come forth, and sever 
the wicked from among the righteous, 

50 and shall cast them into the furnace of 
fire: there shall be the weeping and 
gnashing of teeth. 

51 Have ye understood all these things? 

52 They say unto him, Yea. And he said 
unto them, Therefore every scribe who 
hath been made a disciple to the king- 
dom of heaven is like unto a man that is 
a householder, that bringeth forth out of 
his treasure things new and old. 



1 Gr. drag-net. 



2 Or, the consummation of the age 



Matt. 13:53-57.] THE CARPENTER'S SON. 149 

The Carpenter's Son: vs. 53-58. 

53. when Jesus had finished these parables] This also implies that 
they were all given on the same occasion or day. His departure was to 
Gadara, and later to the region of Nazareth as noted in the next verse. 

54. into His own country] A former visit to Nazareth is noted by 
Luke 4: 16-31. The incidents are not identical, and it is natural to expect 
that Jesus would visit the home of his childhood more than once during 
his years of ministry in that region. 

55. the carpenter's son] Mark says they asked, "Is not this the 
carpenter?" 6 : 3. Every Jew taught his son a trade, usually the one he had 
been taught himself. Even the learned rabbins had some trade. This was 
not asked to throw contempt on him as a carpenter, but only to indicate that 
Jesus had not been educated as a scribe. 

56. his sisters, are they not all with us 1] The natural meaning of 
these words is, that as Mary was his natural mother, so natural brothers 
and sisters are here mentioned. Except for the assumption that Mary 
should ever remain a virgin, no other interpretation would probably have 
been proposed. That the "brethren" and "sisters " were (1) cousins, or (2) 
children of Joseph but by a former marriage, has no foundation except 
conjecture. See 12 : 46 and Mark 6:3. " Joses " is the Greek form for 
Joseph, a son named after the father. As J. A. Alexander pertinently says 
in regard to whether Jesus had own brothers and sisters or not, " It is not so 
much a matter of reason or faith as of taste and sensibility." The language 
naturally leads the common reader to understand that Jesus had own 
brothers and sisters then dwelling at Nazareth. 

57. they were offended] They were made to stumble; were led into 
error and sin, not so much by what he said and did as by their own hard 
and unbelieving hearts. 

A prophet is not without honor] This proverb was frequently used 
by our Lord. See Mark 6:4; Luke 4 : 24 ; John 4 : 44. We have similar 
proverbs : " Familiarity breeds contempt ;" " Distance lends enchantment to 
the view." 



Common Version. 

53 ^ And it came to pass, thai when Jesus 
had finished these parables, he departed 
thence. 

54 And when he was come into Ijis own 
country, he taught them in their synagogue, 
insomuch that they were astonished, and 
said, Whence hath this man this wisdom, 
and these mighty works ? 

55 Is not this the carpenter's son? is not 
his mother called Mary? and his brethren, 
James, and Joses, and Simon, and Judas? 

56 And his sisters, are they not all with 



Revised Version. 

53 And it came to pass, when Jesus had fin- 
ished these parables, he departed thence. 

54 And coming into his own country he 
taught them in their synagogue, inso- 
much that they were astonished, and 
said, Whence hath this man this wisdom, 

55 and these * mighty works? Is not this 
the carpenter's son? is not his mother 
called Mary? and his brethren, James, 
and Joseph, and Simon, and Judas? 

56 And his sisters, are they not all with 
us? Whence then hath this man all 



us? Whence then hath this man all these ' 57 these things? And they were & offended 
things? in him. lint Jesus said unto them, A 

57 And they were offended in him. But | prophet is not without honour, save in 
Jesus said unto them, A prophet is not with- ! his own country, and in his own houses, 
out honour, save in his own country, and in | 
bis own house. 

1 Gr. powers. 2 Gr. caused to stumble. 



150 A COMMENTARY ON THE GOSPEL OF MATTHEW. [Matt. 13:58; 14: 1-3. 

58. did not many mighty works because of their unbelief] A 

disposition to believe was a condition required by the Lord in working 
miracles. Lack of faith may hinder some of the most powerful displays 
of God's grace. Alexander supposes that this unbelief kept the people 
of Nazareth from bringing their sick and helpless to Jesus to be healed, and 
not that Jesus declined to heal them when brought to him. In either case 
it was unbelief that prevented many cures ; as now many spiritual healings 
are prevented by a similar unbelief of the Church. 

Suggestive Applications, — 1. Men of God ought to be honored in every 
place. 2. Envy of others leads into serious sin. 3. Skeptics who cannot 
account for religion on natural causes reject it. 4. To condemn those who 
do great good, because they were of humble origin, is a mark of a proud, 
unbelieving mind. 5. Unbelief is the great obstacle to the conversion of 
the world, and to the salvation of a soul. 6. If there are no great revivals, 
it is due to want of faith, not to the lack of grace in Christ. 



Chap. XIV. John Beheaded, vs. 1-12. Compare Mark 6 : 14-29 

and Luke 9 : 7-9. 
Galilee and Mach.<erus in Per^a, a.d. 29. 

1. At that time] Probably during the missionary tour of the twelve. 
See Mark 6 : 7-29. This would place the events of chapters 9 : 35-38 and 
10 between chapters 13 and 14. In chapter 14 the events are narrated in their 
supposed chronological order. 

Herod the tetrarch] was Herod Antipas, tetrarch of Galilee and Peraea. 
He was son of Herod the Great, and his mother was Malthake, a Samaritan 
woman. He was brought up at Rome with his brother Archelaus ; married 
a daughter of Aretas, king of Arabia ; afterward rejecting her he married 
Herodias, the wife of his half-brother Philip who lived a private life, and 
is not to be confounded with Philip the tetrarch of Itursea. Herod beheaded 
John, sent Jesus back to Pilate, was finally charged with crimes, deposed by 
the emperor Caligula, and banished to Lyons in Gaul. " Tetrarch " means 
ruler of a fourth part or district of a province. 

2. John ... is risen from the dead] This implies that Herod was 
not a Sadducee, for the Sadducees denied any resurrection. It also indi- 
cates the alarms of a guilty conscience. The "mighty works," literally 
" powers," are active in him. 

3. in prison for Herodias' sake] John was in the prison of Machaerus, 



Common Version. 

58 And he did not many mighty works 
there because of their unbelief. 

CHAP. XIV.— At that time Herod the 
tetrarch heard of the fame of Jesus, 

2 And said unto his servants, This is John 
the Baptist ; he is risen from the dead ; and 
therefore mighty works do shew forth them- 
selves in him. 

3 fl For Herod had laid hold on John, and 



Revised Version. 

58 And he did not many * mighty works 

there because of their unbelief. 

14 At that season Herod the tetrarch 

2 heard the report concerning Jesus, and 

said unto his servants, This is John the 

Baptist; he is risen from the dead; and 

Therefore do these powers work in him. 
'or Herod had laid hold on John, and 



1 Gr. powers. 



Matt. 14:4-6.] JOHN BEHEADED. 15l 

as Josephus tells us. The cause of this enmity of Herodias is given in the 
next verse, and in Mark 6 : 17-20. See also Luke 3 : 19, 20. Herod appears to 
have been residing in or near the castle of Machaerus, in order to carry on a 
war with A ret as, who was offended because of the indignity put upon his 
daughter by Herod. In this war Herod was completely defeated, owing, in 
popular opinion, to his wicked treatment of John the Baptist. The castle of 
Machaerus was a fortress on the south boundary of Peraea, towards Arabia, 
and about nine or ten miles east of the northern end of the Dead Sea. It 
was built by Alexander Jannaeus, but destroyed by Gabinius in the wars of 
Pompey. Herod the Great restored, enlarged and strengthened it, so that, 
strong by nature, it became almost impregnable. A town was built below 
the fortress. There is now a line of stones showing the old Roman paved 
road to Machaerus. There are also some remains of the old royal palace of 
Herod still to be seen. 

4. It is not lawful for thee to have her] To marry thy brother's 
wife. See Mark 6 : 18. To marry Herodias was a crime against his brother, 
whose wife she was ; a crime against Herod's first wife still living, and against 
the law forbidding incest, since Herodias was his niece, whom he had no 
right to marry. See Lev. 18 : 16; 20 : 21. 

5. he feared the multitude] When Herod was willing to kill John to 
please Herodias, he was afraid of the popular indignation that it would arouse. 
Then, wicked as he was, he liked to hear John, and respected his stern, hon- 
est character. He was held in check by these influences, when through 
courtly intrigues others were plotting for his destruction. 

6. daughter of Herodias] Herod's birthday may refer to the anni- 
versary of his coming into power ; but as the Greek word meant in older 
writers a day kept in memory of the dead, it more naturally implies the anni- 
versary of his natal day. The daughter of Herodias was Salome, afterward 
the wife of her uncle, Philip Herod, and at his death the wife of Aristobu- 
1 us, a grandson of Herod the Great. She danced alone, and no doubt, as was 
usual on such occasions, with an indecent exposure of her person before the 
revelling court attendants. " To dance before the court," says Prof. Post, 
" was an indecorum more shocking to Asiatics than that proposed by Ahas- 

uerus to Vashti It is an extremely immodest display of the person, 

with various indecent gestures and motions. It is practiced by reputable 
women only in each others' presence, except in the rude society of villages. 
In fact social gatherings of the East are confined to one sex." It was a sacri- 
fice of dignity and decency by Salome, and ministering to the lower passions 



Common Version. 

bound him, and put him in prison for Hero- 
dia>' sake, his brother Philip's wife. 

4 For John said unto him, It Is not lawful 
for thee to have her. 

5 And when he would have put him to 
death, he feared the multitude, because they 
counted him as a prophet. 



Revised Version. 

bound him, and put him in prison for 
the sake of Herodias, his brother Philip's 

4 wife. For John said unto him, It is not 

5 lawful for thee to have her. And when 
he would have put him to death, he 
feared the multitude, because they count- 

f> ed him as a prophet. But when Herod's 



6 But when Herod's birthday was kept, birthday came, the daughter of Herodias 

the daughter of Herodias danced before i danced in the midst, and pleased Herod, 
thvm, and pleased Herod. ' 



152 



A COMMENTARY ON THE GOSPEL OF MATTHEW. [Matt. 14 : 7-12. 



of Herod and his court, to secure the wicked designs her mother had against 
John the Baptist. 

8. Give me here] The daughter, " before instructed," or more accu- 
rately " put forward" as in the Kevised Version, conveys the idea not of a pre- 
vious agreement between the mother and daughter, but rather that the mother 
pushed forward her daughter to please Herod and thus to gain her ends. 
The " charger " in old English was a large dish ; in Greek the word means 
a board and then a wooden trencher, and finally a dish of any material. 
Having the head on a platter, as if she would devour it, appears like a 
hideous jest. 

9. the king" was sorry] Herod's opposite traits of character come out 
here. He was voluptuous, wicked, cunning and superstitious, fearful of the 
consequences of his acts. His sorrow sprang from moral weakness and from 
fear of the popular outcry against so heartless a murder of John, But his 
" oaths," as he probably repeated his promise with his oath, stood before him, 
and he was ashamed to recall the pledge before his court. He consented 
to a wicked act rather than risk a charge of fickleness by breaking his rash 
pledge, even when he saw it led to this great sin. If the feast was held in 
Galilee, then some time must have intervened between the order and the 
execution at Machserus and the giving of the head to the girl. But if the 
feast was in the castle, it might all have been done in an hour, and this seems 
to be implied in the narrative here. Nor is there anything in Mark's ac- 
count against the latter view; for the great men of Galilee might have 
gathered at the castle in Peraea on such an occasion. 

12, his disciples • • • went and told Jesus] Herod allowed the dis- 
ciples to bury the body decently, so there was a little sense of forbearance 
left in his mind. Then in their sorrow the disciples sought Jesus, telling 
him the sad story that he might be warned and comforted. 

Suggestive Applications. — 1. Many hear of Jesus now, as Herod did, 
only to reject him. 2. Christ's followers are faithful in rebuking sin in high 
places and low. 3. Voluptuous pleasures and drinking lead to rash conduct 
and often to greater sins. 4. A cunning, vicious woman is a dangerous asso- 
ciate. 5. Oaths and promises that lead us to sin are to be avoided. " God 



Common Version. 

7 Whereupon he promised with an oath 
to give her whatsoever she would ask. 

8 And she, being before instructed of her 
mother, said, Give me here John Baptist's 
head in a charger. 

9 And the king was sorry: nevertheless 
for the oath's sake, and them which sat 
with him at meat, he commanded it to be 
given her. 

10 And he sent, and beheaded John in the 
prison. 

11 And his head was brought in a charger, 
and given to the damsel : and she brought it 
to her mother. 

12 And his disciples came, and took up 
the body, and buried it, and went and told 
Jesus. 



Revised Version. 

7 Whereupon he promised with an oath to 

8 give her whatsoever she sbould ask. And 
she, being put forward by her mother, 
saith, Give me here in a charger the 

9 head of John the Baptist. And the king 
was grieved ; but for the sake of his 
oaths, and of them that sat at meat with 

10 him, he commanded it to be given ; and 
he sent, and beheaded John in the prison. 

11 And his head was brought in a charger, 
and given to the damsel : and she brought 

12 it to her mother. And his disciples came, 
and took up the corpse, and buried him; 
and they went and told Jesus. 



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Matt. 14 : 13-15.] FIVE THOUSAND FED. 153 

would rather have us break our word than his word." — Gossner. 6. In all 
our trials and sorrows we will find true comfort if we go and tell Jesus. 

Five Thousand Fed. vs. 13-21. Given in all the Gospels. Compare 

Mark 6 : 32-44 ; Luke 9 : 10-17 ; John 6 : 1-14. 

Near Bethsaida(?), a.d. 29. 

13. When Jesus heard of it] Several events led Jesus to retire from 
the crowded towns at this time — (1) the death of John; (2) the return of the 
twelve ; (3) the popular excitement springing from his teaching and from 
the death of John. He therefore went across the lake either to (1) the re- 
gion of Bethsaida or (2) the region of Tiberias. If "belonging to . . . Beth- 
saida," in Luke 9 : 10, be omitted, since the form of the reading is disputed, 
and the undisputed reading of John 6 : 23 be followed, the miracle would 
be placed near Tiberias. This would remove the difficulty respecting two 
Bethsaidas, which are not clearly distinguished by any New Testament 
writer. The multitudes that followed liim on foot would not then need to 
cross the Jordan, as they would be compelled to do if the miracle were be- 
yond the so-called " eastern Bethsaida." There is an old ford still in use at 
low water, about two miles before the Jordan enters the lake. But the mir- 
acle was clearly on " the other side " from Bethsaida, v. 22, Mark 6 : 45. 

14. Jesus went forth] This seems to imply, what is clearly stated in 
John 6 : 3, that he had retired to some mountain. They brought their sick 
to be healed. He could not, therefore, have been remote from villages. 

15. when it was evening] This is the only miracle related by all the 
four evangelists. In dividing the day, the Jews had two evenings. It is 
inferred that the first ended about 3 p.m. and the second began about 5 p.m. 
In this verse the first, and in v. 23 the second, evening is meant. The dis- 
ciples, seeing the day was nearly gone, urged Jesus to send the crowd away 
to get food in the market villages ; but Jesus answered, " Give ye them to 
eat." He had his own plan for feeding them ; for when Philip asked where 
the disciples would get enough to feed such a crowd, since they had only five 
barley loaves and two fishes, Jesus ordered that the multitude be seated on the 
grassy places, and they were seated by hundreds and by fifties. There would 
be "grassy places," as it was near the time of the passover, or about our 
April, though later the grass would be burned up with the heat. Then with 
public thanks to heaven lie broke and distributed the food. All ate and were 



Common Version. 

13 % When Jesus heard of it, he departed 
thence by ship into a desert place apart: 
and when the people had heard (hereof, they 
followed him on foot out of the cities. 

14 And Jesus went forth, and saw a great 
multitude, and was moved with compassion 
toward them, and he healed their sick. 

15 % And when it was evening, his disciples 
came to him, saying, This is a desert place, 
and the time is now past; send the multi- 
tude away, that they may go into the vil- 
lages, and buy themselves victuals. 

1 Or, by land 



Revised Version. 

13 Now when Jesus heard it, he withdrew 
from thence in a boat, to a desert place 
apart: and when the multitudes heard 
thereof, they followed him * on foot from 

14 the cities. And he came forth, and saw 
a great multitude, and he had compassion 

15 on them, and healed, their sick. And 
when even was come, the disciples came 
to him, saying, The place is desert, and 
the time is already past; send the mul- 
titudes away, that they may go into th« 



154 



A COMMENTARY ON THE GOSPEL OF MATTHEW. [Matt. 14 : 16-22. 



fully satisfied from these loaves and fishes, and they gathered up in their 
travelling-baskets the fragments that remained over twelve baskets full. 
These baskets, ko^lvol, were of willow or wicker work, of the poorer sort, 
and in common use. Alexander suggests that these fragments were not por- 
tions left by the people of that which was distributed to them, but fragments 
left of the loaves broken by our Lord, which were not needed or distributed, 
so bountifully did Jesus multiply the bread and fishes. 

21. about five thousand] Matthew alone tells us there were five thou- 
sand, beside women and children. The other narratives do not speak of the 
presence of women or children, but do not, on the other hand, say that 
none were present. 

22. straightway Jesus] It was doubtless late in the clay, and it was 
necessary for the crowd to be persuaded promptly to start for the villages for 
lodging. His disciples were directed to take the boat and row to the other 
shore, toward Bethsaida. 

Compare notes in my Commentary on Mark, pp. 81-85. 

Suggestive Applications. — 1. It is right to escape from the fury of 
enemies when God opens a door of escape. 2. Jesus has great compassion 
on sinning, suffering souls. 3. Those who have Christ for a friend have all 
things needful. 4. God can make the poor man's little go further than the 
rich man's abundance. 5. When Christ feeds the hungry soul he satisfies it. 
Ps. 37 : 19. 

Walking on the Water, vs. 22-36. Compare Mark 6 : 45-56 ; John 

6 : 15-24. 
Lake of Galilee, a.d. 29. 

Analysis. — The disciples and multitudes depart, v. 22 ; Jesus goes into a 
mountain to pray, v. 23 ; he walks on the stormy sea at night, vs. 24-27 ; 
Peter attempts to walk on the water, vs. 29-31 ; the storm ceases, v. 32 ; the 
disciples worship Jesus, v. 33 ; he heals the sick of Gennesaret, vs. 34-36. 

Peter's attempt to walk on the water is narrated by Matthew only. 

22. g"0 before llim] Mark adds "unto Bethsaida;" John says they 



Common Version. 

16 But Jesus said unto them, They need 
not depart ; give ye them to eat. 

17 And they say unto him, We have here 
but five loaves, and two fishes. 

18 He said, Bring them hither to me. 

19 And he commanded the multitude to sit 
down on the grass, and took the five loaves, 
and the two fishes, and looking up to heaven, 
he blessed, and brake, and gave the loaves 
to his disciples, and the disciples to the mul- 
titude. 

20 And they did all eat, and were filled : 
and they took up of the fragments that 
remained twelve baskets full. 

21 And they that had eaten were about five 
thousand men, beside women and children. 

22 ^f And straightway Jesus constrained 
his disciples to get into a ship, and to go 
before him unto the other side, while he 
sent the multitudes away. 



Revised Version. 

16 villages, and buy themselves food. But 
Jesus said unto them, They have no need 

17 to go away ; give ye them to eat. And 
they say unto him, We have here but 

18 five loaves, and two fishes. And he said, 

19 Bring them hither to me. And he com- 
manded the multitudes to isit down on 
the grass ; and he took the five loaves, 
and the two fishes, and looking up to 
heaven, he blessed, and brake and gave 
the loaves to the disciples, and the dis- 

20 ciples to the multitudes. And they did 
all eat, and were filled: and they took up 
that which remained over of the broken 

21 pieces, twelve baskets full. And they 
that did eat were about five thousand 
men, beside women and children. 

22 And straightway he constrained the 
disciples to enter into the boat, and to 
go before him unto the other side, till he 



x Gr. recline. 



Matt. 1 1 : 23-28.] WALKING ON THE WATER. I55 

went "toward Capernaum." If the miracle was east of the supposed eastern 
Bethsaida, then this order seems to mean to go before Jesus and await his 
coming at western Bethsaida. But if this was the intent of the order, then 
the narrative lacks the usual clearness of the gospel writers. If the miracle 
of feeding the five thousand was in the region of Tiberias, the command is 
more intelligible. The disciples were to proceed along the shore northwest- 
ward, toward Bethsaida and Capernaum, and he would join them later. 
This obviates the perplexity of two Bethsaidas also. 

23. went up into a mountain to pray] or " the mountain," probably 
the same mountain from which he had come forth, John 6 : 3. The narra- 
tive naturally points to a region west of the lake in the vicinity of Tiberias. 
Others, however, think it was some miles southeast of where the Jordan 
enters the lake, though there are no " mountains," but only hills, in that 
region. This habit of prayer alone is frequently mentioned in the ministry 
of Jesus. Why he, the divine one, should feel the need of such seasons of 
devotion is no more mysterious than his incarnation. His example is one 
all his disciples should copy. The people were about to take him by force to 
make him king (see John 6 : 15), and this season of prayer and meditation 
was a suitable preparation for such a trial. It was the old temptation of 
Satan. The evening here mentioned is the " second evening," and after sun- 
set, see v. 15. He remained there nearly all night in prayer, that is, until 
toward the "fourth watch," or almost morning. Meanwhile the disciples 
were in the boat toiling and rowing against a contrary and boisterous wind. 

25. walking on the sea] Not along the sea, on the beach, but upon 
the water. And the disciples, seeing him walking on the sea, were terrified, 
crying out, " It is a ' phantasma, 1 " phantom or apparition, an unreal appear- 
ance of a real person. It is not pneuma, the Greek word commonly used 
for " spirit." 

27. it is I] Jesus spoke in his familiar voice, which they would recog- 
nize. " Courage ; I am ; fear not." I am a real person, not a spirit ; dismiss 
your fear. The voice would calm them more effectively than the words. 

28. Peter answered] Peter was always forward, as his impetuous 
nature led him to be. So he, impressed by the " I am" of Jesus, responds, 

Common Version. Revised Version. 



23 And when he had sent the multitudes 
away, he went up into a mountain apart to 
pray : and when the evening was come, he 
was there alone. 

24 But the ship was now in the midst of 



23 should send the multitudes away. And 
after he had sent the multitudes away, 
he went up into the mountain apart to 
pray: and when even was come, he was 

24 there alone. But the boat 1 was now in 



the sea, tossed with waves : for the wind was ! the midst of the sea, distressed by the 



contrary. 

25 And in the fourth watch of the night 
Jesus went unto them, walking on the sea. 

26 And when the disciples saw him walk- 
ing on the sea, they were troubled, saying, 
It is a spirit; and they cried out for fear. 



25 waves; for the wind was contrary. And 
in the fourth watch of the night he came 

26 unto them, walking upon the sea. And 
when the disciples saw him walking on 
the sea, they were troubled, saying, It is 
an apparition; and they cried out for 



27 But straightway Jesus spake unto them, | 27 fear. But straightway Jesus spake unto 
saying, Be of good cheer; it is I; be not them, saying, Be of good cheer; it is 1 ; 

afraid. ! 28 be not afraid. And Peter answered him 

2b And Peter answered him and said, I 

lSouie ancient authorities read was many furlongs distant from the land. 



156 



A COMMENTARY ON THE GOSPEL OF MATTHEW. [Matt. 14 : 29-36. 



"Lord, if thou art" — a real person and no spectre — call or command me to 
come to you upon the water. Peter wanted a sign to assure him. And 
Jesus said, Come. And going down from the boat, Peter walked around upon 
the water and went toward Jesus. But seeing the wind he was fearful, and 
beginning to be i; submerged," he cried, saying, Lord, save me. Peter was 
probably going against the wind, which may have been " boisterous," though 
that word is omitted in some of the best authorities and in the Revised Ver- 
sion. When Peter looked to Jesus, he walked securely on the waters ; when 
he looked to the wind and waves, he began to fear and to sink. 

31. wherefore didst thou doubt?] Jesus straightway, having stretched 
out his hand, caught Peter; then reproves him. He saves first; rebukes 
afterward. "Little faith," in what didst thou doubt? That is, from what 
cause didst thou doubt ? When the two were in the boat the wind suddenly 
ceased. Then those in the boat worshipped him, declaring that Jesus was 
the Son of God. 

34. they came into the land of (rennesaret] This was a small strip 
of land on the northwest shore of the lake, and about four miles long by one 
or two miles wide. It had great fertility and beauty, and corresponded to 
the plain el-Ghuweir. 

35. brought unto him all that were diseased] The "place" and 
" villages," as Mark adds, were in the plain of Gennesaret. It was a very 
populous district in those days, as we learn from Josephus. "That place" 
could hardly have been Capernaum, or its name would have been given 
in the usual way. It was doubtless one of the several villages through 
which Jesus passed, as implied by Mark, while on his way to Capernaum. 
They only touch the hem of his garment and are healed, like the woman 
in the crowd when Jesus was going to raise the ruler's daughter. Verses 



Common Version. 

Lord, if it be thou, bid me come unto thee 
on the water. 

29 And he said, Come. And when Peter 
was come down out of tbe ship, he walked 
on the water, to go to Jesus. 

30 But when he saw the wind boisterous, 
he was afraid ; and beginning to sink, he 
cried, saying, Lord, save me. 

31 And immediately Jesus stretched forth 
his hand, and caught him, and said unto 
him, O thou of little faith, wherefore didst 
thou doubt? 

32 And when they were come into the 
ship, the wind ceased:. 

33 Then they that were in the ship came 
and worshipped him, saying, Of a truth 
thou art the Son of God. 

34 f And when they were gone over, they 
came into the land of Gennesaret. 

35 And when the men of that place had 
knowledge of him, they sent out into all 
that country round about, and brought unto 
him all that were diseased ; 

36 And besought him that they might 
only touch the hem of his garment : and as 
many as touched were made perfectly whole. 

1 Some ancient authorities read and came. 



Revised Version. 

and said, Lord, if it be thou, bid me come 
unto thee upon the waters. And he said, 

29 Come. And Peter went down from the 
boat, and walked upon the waters, Ho 

30 come to Jesus. But when he saw the 
wind 2 , he was afraid; and beginning to 
sink, he cried out, saying, Lord, save inc. 

31 And immediately Jesus stretched forth 
his hand, and took hold of him, and saith 
unto him, O thou of little faith, where- 

32 fore didst thou doubt? And when they 
were gone up into the boat, the wind 

33 ceased. And they that were in the boat 
worshipped him, saying, Of a truth thou 
art the Son of God. 

34 And when they had crossed over, they 

35 came to the land, unto Gennesaret. And 
when the men of that place knew him, 
they sent into all that region round about, 
and brought unto him all that were sick ; 

36 and they besought him that they might 
only touch the border of his garment : and 
as many as touched were made whole. 



2 Many ancient authorities add strong. 



Matt. 15 : 1, 2.] 



JESUS AND JEWISH TRADITION. 



157 



35, 36 are a general description of Christ's ministry. There are three other 
similar descriptions of it by Matthew. See 4 : 24 ; 9 : 35 ; 11 : 1. 

Suggestive Applications. — 1. When Christ commands we are to obey. 
2. Seek to be alone in prayer with God. 3. Believers may not recognize 
Christ's presence. 4. Christ comes in time of trouble. 5. Difficulties and 
trials may stand in the way of our duty, but need not drive us from it. 
6. Looking to Jesus gives security ; looking to our trials gives doubts and 
fears. 7. Christ's cures are never by halves; "whom he heals, he heals 
perfectly." 



Chap. XV. Jesus and Jewish Tradition, vs. 1-20. Compare Mark 

7 : 1-23. 
Galilee, a.d. 29. 

This chapter records a fresh attack of the Pharisees and scribes. These 
attacks were frequent. A hint of them is given early, in the sermon on the 
mount, 5 : 17-20. Of open hostility there are numerous examples, as (1) 
when Jesus was at the feast with publicans, 9 : 10-12 ; (2) when the dumb 
man was healed, 9 : 34, 35; (3) when his disciples plucked the corn on the 
Sabbath, 12 : 1-5 ; (4) on another Sabbath in the synagogue, 12 : 10-14 ; (5) 
again, when the blind and dumb man was healed, 12 : 24-28 ; (6) when they 
demanded a sign, 12:38-45; (7) in the synagogue in "his own country," 
13:54-57; (8) on traditions, as in this chapter; (9) a sign wanted from 
heaven, 16:1-4; (10) on divorce, 19:3-9; (11) when they demanded his 
authority for doing these things, 21 : 23-27, 45, 46 ; (12) when they formed a 
plot to catch him in his talk, 22:15-34; (13) their final conspiracy to slay 
him, 26 : 3-5, 47-57. All these instances are given by Matthew. This 
chapter may also be regarded as beginning a new epoch in the ministry of 
Jesus. For this discussion on tradition is followed by the narrative of his 
one recorded mission to the Gentiles, in the region of Tyre and Sidon. 

2. transgress the tradition] These scribes and Pharisees were a com- 
pany, perhaps a secret deputation from Jerusalem watching and acting as 
spies upon Jesus. The tradition was the unwritten law, and was held to be 
binding on all Jews. " Elders," some suppose, designates the official rulers of 
the nation then living, as Hillel, Shammai and other noted priests and rab- 
bins. But it is more natural to take " elders " in a wider historical sense, 
as the fathers and founders of the nation, whom the rabbins often quoted 
with authority. Many current traditions were frivolous, and some were 
contrary to the written law, as Jesus proceeded to show them. Their charge 
was not that Jesus and his disciples ate with soiled hands, but with hands 
ceremonially unclean. They might have touched a heathen, or some cere- 



Common Version. 

CHAP. XV.— Then came to Jesus scribes 
and Pharisees, which were of Jeru- 
salem, saying, 

2 Why do thy disciples transgress the tra- 
dition of the elders? for they wash not their 
hands when they eat bread. 



Revised Version. 

15 Then there come to Jesus from Jeru- 

2 salem Pharisees and scribes, saying, Why 

do thy disciples transgress the tradition 

of the elders? for they wash not their 



158 



A COMMENTARY ON THE GOSPEL OP MATTHEW. [Matt. 15:3-13. 



monially unclean tiling in the market, or reclined on a couch where a 
Gentile had lain before them. This in the Jewish view would make them 
unclean, until they had ceremonially washed. 

5. ye say ... a gift] or " given," that is, devoted to the temple or 
God by a vow. See Revised Version. The tradition of the scribes in sub- 
stance was : if a man made a personal or religious vow, he might put the use 
of property and things of others out of his own reach, or he might put 
his own property, time and talents out of the reach of another. When he 
had made this vow, tradition held that he was under no obligation to sup- 
port his parents. Thus they had annulled the fifth commandment. " He 
shall be free," in verse 6, is inserted by English translators, but is not 
necessary to the sense. See Revised reading. 

7. well did Esaias prophesy of you] The words are a free citation 
from the Greek version of Isa. 29 : 13. The idea is, they are punctilious in 
outward worship, but are regardless of the spirit of true heart worship. 

10. he called the multitude] It is a startling act to turn from the 
official interpreters of the law to the common sense of the people. It in- 
dicates the popular character of the kingdom and the clearer perception of 
some religious truths by the unprejudiced common mind. 

12. that the Pharisees were offended] The disciples thought it a 
serious thing to differ with the acknowledged Jewish teachers, and more 
serious to offend them. They were yet in bondage to pharisaism, and feared 
for the popularity, if not for the safety, of Jesus. 

13. Every plant] Not every wild one, but every cultivated tree or plant 



Common Version. 

3 But he answered and said unto them, 
Why do ye also transgress the command- 
ment of God by your tradition ? 

4 For God commanded, saying, Honour 
thy father and mother : and, He that curseth 
father or mother, let him die the death. 

5 But ye say, Whosoever shall say to his 
father or his mother, It is a gift, by whatso- 
ever thou mightest be profited by me; 

6 And honour not his father or his mother, 
he shall be free. Thus have ye made the 
commandment of God of none effect by 
your tradition. 

7 Ye hypocrites, well did Esaias prophesy 
of you, saying, 

8 This people draweth nigh unto me with 
their mouth, and honoureth me with their 
lips ; but their heart is far from me. 

9 But in vain do they worship me, teach- 
ing/or doctrines the commandments of men. 

10 \ And he called the multitude, and said 
unto them, Hear, and understand: 

11 Not that which goeth into the mouth 
defileth a man ; but that which cometh out 
of the mouth, this defileth a man. 

12 Then came his disciples, and said unto 
him, Knowest thou that the Pharisees were 
offended, after they heard this saying? 

13 But he answered and said, Every plant, 

1 Or, surely die 2 Some ancient authorities add or his mother. 3 Some ancient authorities 
read law. 4 Gr. caused to stumble. 



Revised Version. 

3 hands when they eat bread. And he an- 
swered and said unto them, Why do ye 
also transgress the commandment of God 

4 because of your tradition ? For God said, 
Honour thy father and thy mother: and, 
He that speaketh evil of father or mother, 

5 let him l die the death. But ye say, Who- 
soever shall say to his father or his mo- 
ther, That wherewith thou mightest have 

6 been profited by me is given to God; he 
shall not honour his father 2 . And ye 
have made void the 3 word of God because 

7 of your tradition. Ye hypocrites, well 
did Isaiah prophesy of you, saying, 

8 This people honoureth me with their lips ; 
But their heart is far from me. 

9 But in vain do they worship me, 
Teaching as their doctrines the precepts 

of men. 

10 And he called to him the multitude, and 
said unto them, Hear, and understand: 

11 Not that which entereth into the mouth 
defileth the man ; but that which pro- 
ceedeth out of the mouth, this defileth 

12 the man. Then came the disciples, and 
said unto him, Knowest thou that the 
Pharisees were 4 offended, when they 

13 heard this saying? But he answered 



Matt. 15:14-20.] JESUS AND JEWISH TRADITION. 159 

which my heavenly Father planted not, shall he rooted up. The Pharisees 
are not of his planting and they will be rooted up, is the application. 

14. blind leaders of the blind] Leave them to themselves; when the 
blind lead the blind, both shall fall into the ditch. Palestine was full of 
wells, cisterns, pits, quarries, often unguarded, and it abounded in blind 
persons. Such events as the blind falling into them could not have been 
uncommon. So the Pharisees were spiritually blind, and were trying to 
lead a people spiritually blind ; both must fall into the ditches of error 
and sin. 

15. Declare unto us this parable] It was not the parable respecting 
the blind guide, but in regard to defilement (v. 11), which Peter asked Jesus 
to explain. For this was the matter that had offended the Pharisees. See 
Mark 7 : 17. 

19. out of the heart] The thoughts, motives and fully-formed ideas 
and purposes of the heart or mind are what affect a man's character. The 
outward acts are merely the expression of what is in the man. The sin is 
born in the heart, and comes forth from there. These thoughts, not hands 
that are merely ceremonially unclean, defile the man. Only those things 
which involve some moral principle affect moral character. A heart de- 
filed by any sin renders a man unholy, profane in God's sight ; no amount 
of ceremonial washings of the hands will cleanse a man while his heart is 
bad. 

Suggestive Applications. — 1. Church traditions must be tested by God's 
word. 2. Zeal for our creed must not outrun zeal for God's word. 3. 
The hypocrite honors God outwardly ; he draws nigh to him in worship, but 
gets no further. 4. Not mere profession of religion, but possession of religion, 
is what God requires. 5. Not the physical but the moral touch of the sin- 
ful is defiling. 6. Sin, not food cooked by Gentile hands, is defiling to the 
soul. 7. Washing our hands will not cleanse us from the pollution of sin, 
but if Christ washes our souls we shall be clean. 



Common Version. 

which ray- heavenly Father hath not planted, 
shall be rooted up. 

14 Let thera alone : tfeey be blind leaders 
of the blind. And if the blind lead the 
blind, both shall fall into the ditch. 

15 Then answered Peter and said unto 
him, Declare unto us this parable. 

16 And Jesus said, Are ye also yet without 
understanding? 

17 Do not ye yet understand, that whatso- 
ever entereth in at the mouth "goeth into 
the belly, and is cast out into the draught? 

18 But those things which proceed out of 
the mouth come forth from the heart; and 
they defile the man. 

19 For out of the heart proceed evil 
thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, 
thefts, false witness, blasphemies : 

20 These are the things which defile a man : 
but to eat with unwashen hands defileth not 
a man. 



Revised Version. 

and said, Every ! plant which my heav- 
enly Father planted not, shall be rooted 

14 up. Let them alone: they are blind 
guides. And if the blind guide the 

15 blind, both shall fall into a pit. And 
Peter answered and said unto him, De- 

16 clare unto us the parable. And he said, 
Are ye also even yet without understand- 

17 ing? Perceive ye not, that whatsoever 
goeth into the mouth passeth into the 
belly, and is cast out into the draught? 

18 But the things which proceed out of the 
mouth come forth out of the heart : and 

19 they defile the man. For out of the heart 
come forth evil thoughts, murders, adul- 
teries, fornications, thefts, false witness, 

20 railings: these are the things which de- 
file the man : but to eat with unwashen 
hands defileth not the man. 



1 Gr. planting. 



160 



A COMMENTARY ON THE GOSPEL OF MATTHEW. [Matt. 15:21-26. 



The Canaanitish Woman, vs. 21-28. See Mark 7 : 24-30. 
Borders of Tyre and Sidon, a.d. 29. 

21. departed into the coasts [parts] of Tyre and Sidon] The en- 
emies of Jesus were becoming violent. He withdrew partly on this account 
to the remoter regions on the borders of Tyre and Sidon. From thence he 
journeys on, possibly through Sidon and around toward Lebanon, into the 
northern region of Decapolis, which included Damascus, according to Pliny, 
or Csesarea Philippi, according to others. While in the region of the latter 
city the transfiguration took place. 

22. a woman of Canaan . . . cried, . . . my daughter is grievously 
vexed] Mark calls her a Greek, a Syrophoenician by race. Canaan, the 
lowlands, applied to all Palestine in early times, was sometimes limited to 
the plain of Phoenicia along the sea. She was a " Greek," that is, a heathen, 
and from the people devoted to Baal worship. Canaan signifies her race by 
birth ; " Greek," her religion, possibly also her speech ; Syrophoenician, her 
residence or provincial home. This is the essential point in the incident. 
" My daughter," she cries, " is grievously vexed with a demon ;" literally, 
" is badly demonized." 

23. Send her away] These words and the context imply that they 
wished him to grant her request and dismiss her. " She crieth after us " 
need not be understood as a complaint against the woman, but only as re- 
minding Jesus of her eagerness to gain a hearing. He answers his disciples 
by reminding them that he was sent to the lost of Israel. For I did not 
allow you to go to the Gentiles nor to the Samaritans even. So if I heal 
her, it will be exceeding the limits of your former commission. Or, some 
suppose the hesitation was in order to teach the woman his true character as 
the spiritual Messiah. 

26. It is not meet to take the children's bread] The Jews regarded 
all outside of their race as unclean. The Moslem calls all outside of his 
religion dogs. So the " children " are the Jews, and the " little dogs," for 
that is the force of the Greek, are the Gentiles. Gifts intended for Jews 
could not properly or fittingly be given to Gentiles. This is good logic in 



Common Version. 

21 If Then Jesus went thence, and departed 
into the coasts of Tyre and Sidon. 

22 And, behold, a woman of Canaan came 
out of the same coasts, and cried unto him, 
saying, Have mercy on me, O Lord, thou Son 
of David ; my daughter is grievously vexed 
with a devil. 

23 But he answered her not a word. And 
his disciples came and besought him, saying, 
Send her away ; for she crieth after us. 

24 But he answered and said, I am not 
sent but unto the lost sheep of the house of 
Israel. 

25 Then came she and worshipped him, 
saying, Lord, help me. 

26 But he answered and said, It is not 
meet to take the children's bread, and to 
cast it to dogs. 

lOr, 



Revised Version. 

21 And Jesus went out thence, and with- 
drew into the parts of Tyre and Sidon. 

22 And behold, a Canaanitish woman came 
out from those borders, and cried, saying, 
Have mercy on me, O Lord, thou son of 
David ; my daughter is grievously vexed 

23 with a demon. But he answered her not 
a word. And bis disciples came and be- 
sought him, saying, Send her away; for 

24 she crieth after us. But he answered and 
said, I was not sent but unto the lost sheep 

25 of the house of Israel. But she came and 
worshipped him, saying, Lord, help me. 

26 And he answered and said, It is not meet 
to take the children's i bread and cast it 



loaf 



Matt. 15 : 27-30. j 



Feeding the four thousand. 



161 



the East to-day, and Jesus simply applies the common reasoning of the peo- 
ple to the woman, without necessarily approving it as right. 

27. the dogs eat of the crumbs] The woman takes Jesus at his word. 
She accepts the position of reproach in which his illustration seems to place 
her. Then she says in substance, Even the dogs get the crumbs from the 
master's table. I do not ask for the loaves, only the crumbs or bits of bread 
thrown to the dogs. 

28. be it • . . even as thou wilt] Jesus commends this poor Gentile 
woman for her great faith, as he had the Gentile centurion (8 : 10), and 
grants a request equal to her faith. Her faith is proved to be great, for her 
daughter was healed from that hour. 

Suggestive Applications. — 1. Opposition and cavils against the gospel 
often cause Christ to withdraw from us. 2. The troubles of children are 
troubles and anxieties for their parents. 3. Christ is pleased with strong 
faith. 4. Those seeking mercy may be content with crumbs. 5. But the 
crumbs from Christ's table are of more value than many loaves of the world. 
6. Faith even in a Gentile may break over all barriers. 7. When Christ 
speaks it is done. 

Feeding the Four Thousand, vs. 29-39. See Mark 7 : 31 to 8 : 9. 
Region of Decapolis, a.d. 29. 

29. Jesus departed . • . unto the sea of Galilee] Finding that he 
could not have rest even on the borders of Phoenicia, Jesus continues his 
journey northward, then east and south toward Decapolis and the Sea of Gali- 
lee. See under v. 21. He had probably spent several days near the Phoenician 
territory. There were several passes through the mountains eastward ; but 
Jesus may have taken the great route from Sidon eastward, through the 
mountain peaks and across the Leontes, a rapid river, and thence into the 
valley of the Jordan, and eastward of the lakes — a journey which might 
have occupied several days. Here he seeks " the mountain " to rest. 

30. lame, blind, dumb, maimed] The crowds follow him, bearing 
the sick and afflicted with them, seeking healing. It must have been a 
motley crowd of Gentile and Jewish peasants, some crippled, some blind, 
some speechless, many deformed, and with various afflictions, seeking the 
great Healer. The helpless were laid at his feet. This Gentile crowd were 



Common Version. 

27 And she said, Truth, Lord: yet the 
dogs eat of the cruinbs which fall from their 
masters' table. 

28 Then Jesus answered and said unto 
her, O woman, great is thy faith : be it unto 
thee even as thou wilt. And her daughter 
was made whole from that very hour. 

29 And Jesus departed from thence, and 
came nigh unto the sea of Galilee; and went 
up into a mountain, and sat down there. 

30 And preat multitudes came unto him, 
having with them those that were lame, blind, 
dumb, maimed, and many others, and cast 
them down at Jesus' feet; and he healed 
them: 

11 



Revised Version. 

27 to the dogs. But she said, Yea, Lord : for 
even the dogs eat of the crumbs which fall 

28 from their masters' table. Then Jesus 
answered and said unto her, O woman, 
great is thy faith: be it done unto thee 
even as thou wilt. And her daughter 
was healed from that hour. 

29 And Jesus departed thence, and came 
nigh unto the sea of Galilee ; and he went 

30 up into the mountain, and sat there. And 
there came unto him great multitudes, 
having with them the lame, blind, dumb, 
maimed, and many others, and they cast 
them down at his feet; and he healed 



162 A COMMENTARY ON THE GOSPEL OF MATTHEW. [Matt. 15 : 31-34. 

amazed at the wonders which Jesus performed, and they glorified the God 
of Israel. This is specially noted because they were not all of Israel. 

32. I have compassion on the multitude] The great crowd gathered 
around Jesus, and clung to him for days. In the mild climate of the East, 
and with their simple habits, sleeping in the open air in the summer was a 
natural and comparatively easy thing for the people. But their food would 
be scanty. If sent away hungry in the hot sun — for it was toward midsum- 
mer — they would suffer from heat and want. 

33. his disciples say, . . . Whence . . . bread] It is the old ques- 
tion, Where can so many loaves be found in the wilderness for so great a 
crowd? So we often say of the crowded populations in city and country, 
How can all these be fed ? They all are fed. God feeds them. 

34. Seven, and a few little fishes] The loaves of the East were 
thin, round cakes. The fishes were doubtless from the lake. The differ- 
ences between this feeding of the four thousand and that of the five thousand 
should be carefully noted. Jesus here came from the borders of Tyre and 
Sidon by the way of Decapolis, Mark 7 : 31, until he was " near to," or liter- 
ally " beside the Sea of Galilee." Here on the east side the crowds appear 
to be partly Gentiles ; while the five thousand appear to have been mainly 
Galilean Jews. Here four thousand, there five thousand, are fed. Here 
they sat on the ground, for the hot summer sun had burned up the 
grass ; there they sat on the grass, for it was early in spring. Here are seven 
loaves and some small fishes ; there only five loaves and two fishes. Here 
seven large (grain) baskets (anvpiSa?) of fragments were left; before twelve 
small travelling-baskets (ko^iVov?) of pieces were left. So far all is clear. 
This miracle of the four thousand was in the Decapolis. Those who place 
the feeding of the five thousand near the supposed eastern Bethsaida would 
bring it near to the scene of the feeding of the four thousand. If the former 
be placed near to Tiberias, John 6 : 23, then it would be on the opposite side 
of the lake from the feeding of the four thousand, and also "the other side" 
from Bethsaida, as stated in Mark 6 : 45. There were four thousand here 
" besides women and children," literally " little children," for the Greek is a 
diminutive. 



Common Version. 

31 Insomuch that the multitude wondered, 
when they saw the dumb to speak, the 
maimed to be whole, the lame to walk, and 
the blind to see : and they glorified the God 
of Israel. 

32 f Then Jesus called his disciples unto 
him, and said, I have compassion on the 
multitude, because they continue with me 
now three days, and have nothing to eat: 
and I will not send them away fasting, lest 
they faint in the way. 

33 And his disciples say unto him, Whence 
should we have so much bread in the wilder- 
ness, as to fill so great a multitude ? 

34 And Jesus saith unto them, How many 



Revised Version. 

31 them : insomuch that the multitude won- 
dered, when they saw the dumb speak- 
ing, the maimed whole, and the lame 
walking, and the blind seeing : and they 
glorified the God of Israel. 

32 And Jesus called unto him his disciples, 
and said, I have compassion on the mul- 
titude, because they continue with me 
now three days and have nothing to eat : 
and I would not send them away fasting, 

33 lest haply they faint in the way. And the 
disciples say unto him, Whence should 
we have so many loaves in a desert place, 

34 as to fill so great a multitude? And Jesus 
saith unto them, How many loaves have 



loaves have ye? And they said, Seven, and j ye? And they said, Seven, and a few 
a few little fishes. 



Matt. 15 : 35-39 ; 16 : 1.] FALSE TEACHING OF THE PH ARISEES. 



163 



37. did all eat, and were filled] Or, literally, " they all ate and were 
satisfied ; and they took up of what ran over of the broken pieces, seven bas- 
ketsful." Here is a basketful of fragments for every loaf; there a basketful 
of fragments for every apostle. The meal began with the Master's blessing 
and ended with a hungry multitude entirely satisfied. 

39, took ship, and came into . . . Magdala] or Magadan, as the Re- 
vised Version, or Dalmanutha, as Mark reads. The place or district has 
not been surely identified, but it is probably on the southwestern shore of 
the lake, in the region of Tiberias ; now perhaps el-Mejdel, where is a miser- 
able Moslem village, from whence Mary Magdalene may have come. 

Suggestive Applications. — 1. Jesus rests upon a lonely mountain, sit- 
ting on the ground. 2. Crowds come to Jesus even in the wilderness. 

3. The greatest attraction for sin-sick souls is to present Jesus to them. 

4. All diseases of the body and of the soul are subject to Christ's power. 

5. God can feed his people in the greatest spiritual wilderness. 6. Jesus 
notes the wants of his people. 7. Christ is never niggardly in his bounties. 
There are baskets full of supplies left over at all his feasts. 



Chap. XVI. False Teaching of the Pharisees, vs. 1-12. See 
Mark 8 : 10-12 ; Luke 12 : 54-57. 

Around the Sea op Galilee, a.d. 29. 

1. Pharisees . . . Sadducees came] This is the first mention of an 
agreement between the Pharisees, leaders in the synagogue, and the in- 
different Sadducees, dominant in the temple, in opposition to Jesus. In the 
dispute about the Sabbath, and the later one about defiled hands, the 
scribes and Pharisees only appear. Now there is a coalition of two oppos- 
ing sects against the divine Teacher. 

a sign from heaven] They make this demand to tempt or try him. 
All his miracles did not satisfy them. They did not wish to believe, so 
it .was easy to be skeptical. There might be some power above nature that 
he possessed, to cast out demons, cure the sick, feed the hungry, and yet not di- 
vine power. So they pretended to think. Hence, they sought for a sign direct 



Common Version. 

35 And he commanded the multitude to 
sit down on the ground. 

36 And he took the seven loaves and the 
fishes, and gave thanks, and brake them, and 
gave to his disciples, and the disciples to the 
multitude. 

37 And they did all eat, and were filled : 
and they took up of the broken meat that 
was left seven baskets full. 

38 And they that did eat were four thou- 
sand men, beside women and children. 

39 And he sent away the multitude, and 
took ship, and came into the coasts of Mag- 
dala. 

CHAP. XVI.— The Pharisees also with the 
Sadducees came, and tempting desired 
him that he would shew them a sign from 
heaven. 



Eevised Version. 

35 small fishes. And he commanded the 
multitude to sit down on the ground ; 

36 and he took the seven loaves and the 
fishes ; and he gave thanks and brake, 

•and gave to the disciples, and the dis- 

37 ciples to the multitudes. And they did 
all eat, and were filled : and they took up 
that which remained over of the broken 

38 pieces, seven baskets full. And thev that 
did eat were four thousand men, beside 

39 women and children. And he sent away 
the multitudes, and entered into the boat, 
and came into the borders of Magadan. 

16 And the Pharisees and Sadducees came, 
and trying him asked him to shew t hem 



164 



A COMMENTARY ON THE GOSPEL OF MATTHEW. [Matt. 16 : 2-8. 



from heaven, which he might give if he were the Messiah. For according 
to the rabbins, when Messiah came there would be such signs ; a rainbow 
filled with light would span the world, and other wonders would be seen in 
the heavens. Let him bring fire from heaven like Elijah, thunder and 
rain like Samuel, or bread like Moses. See 1 Kings 18 : 38 ; 1 Sam. 12 : 18; 
Ex. 16 : 12. 

3. ye can discern the face of the sky] or, " ye know how to discern 
the face of the heaven." Verses 2 and 3 are omitted in two of the oldest 
MSS. of the Gospel, the Vatican and the Sinaitic. The words seem quite 
closely in harmony with the context, and do not bear any internal marks 
of interpolation. It is easier to see how the copyists of those old MSS. 
should have in some way omitted this part of the answer than to see how 
it found a place here in many copies, bearing such significant marks of 
being original. The "sky" of the Common Version obscures the point of 
the answer. You profess to read the signs of the physical heaven and 
forecast coming events ; how is it that you, spiritual teachers, cannot read 
the greater signs in the spiritual heaven? The fact was they looked for a 
temporal rather than a spiritual Messiah, and to have granted their request 
would have confirmed them in their error. On verse 4, see 12 : 39. 

5. to the other side . • • forgotten to take bread] The sharp op- 
position of these two powerful sects, the Pharisees and Sadducees, threatened 
the safety of Jesus and his followers. He withdrew over the sea, and prob- 
ably in the haste of the departure the disciples forgot to take bread or food 
with them. 

6. beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and Sadducees] Having 
reached the opposite or eastern shore of the lake, the disciples are warned 
against the " leaven " of both the dominant Jewish sects. This seems to 



Common Version. 

2 He answered and said unto them, When 
it is evening, ye say, It will be fair weather: 
for the sky is red. 

3 And in the morning, It will be foul 
weather to day : for the sky is red and low- 
ering. O ye hypocrites, ye can discern the 
face of the sky ; but can ye not discern the 
signs of the times? 

4 A wicked and adulterous generation 
seeketh after a sign; and there shall no 
sign be given unto it, but the sign of the 
prophet Jonas. And he left them, and de- 
parted. 

5 And when his disciples were come to 
the other side, they had forgotten to take 
bread. 

6 fl Then Jesus said unto them, Take heed 
and beware of the leaven of the Pharisees 
and of the Sadducees. 

7 And they reasoned among themselves, 
saying, It is because we have taken no bread. 

8 Which when Jesus perceived, he said 
unto them, ye of little faith, why reason ye 
among yourselves, because ye have brought 
no bread ? 



Revised Version. 

2 a sign from heaven. But he answered 
and said unto them, i When it is evening, 
ye say, It will be fair weather: for the 

3 heaven is red. And in the morning, It 
will be foul weather to-day: for the 
heaven is red and lowring. Ye know 
how to discern the face of the heaven ; 
but ye cannot discern the signs of the 

4 times. An evil and adulterous genera- 
tion seeketh after a sign ; and there shall 
no sign be given unto it, but the sign of 
Jonah. And he left them, and departed. 

5 And the disciples came to the other side 

6 and forgot to take 2 bread. And Jesus 
said unto them. Take heed and beware 
of the leaven of the Pharisees and Sad- 

7 ducees. And they reasoned among them- 

8 selves, saying, 3 We took no 2 bread. And 
Jesus perceiving it said, O ye of little 
faith, why reason ye among yourselves, 



1 The following words, to the end of v. 3, are omitted by some of the most ancient and 
her important authorities. 2 Gr. loaves. ■ Or, It is because we took no bread 



Matt. 16 : 9-12.] 



CONFESSING AND CROSS BEARING. " 



165 



have reminded them of their lack of bread, and they whispered among them- 
selves that Jesus was warning them not to buy bread of the Pharisees or 
Sadducees, when they had forgotten to provide food from any source. 

9. Do ye not understand] or " perceive." Do you not perceive that 
I could not be thinking of buying food ? For only a few days ago there was 
bread enough for five thousand and twelve hand-baskets (noty'ivovs) full over, 
and soon after food for four thousand and seven large grain-baskets (airvpidag) 
full over. For we have here the same distinction of kind in the baskets 
that is made in the accounts of the miracles. This verse shows how shallow 
is the supposition of some learned rationalistic critics, who say that Mat- 
thew really relates only one miracle. They imagine that writing of the 
feeding of the five thousand in the fourteenth chapter, he forgot it and 
related the same miracle again, with some variation as to the number 
fed, in the next chapter! But here he carefully contrasts the two in the 
words of our Lord, showing the two different events. See also 15 : 37. Not 
loaves, but teachings of the Pharisees and Sadducees, are what you ought to 
avoid. The disciples were in error in thinking (1) that Jesus referred to 
bread, and (2) that he intended to rebuke their forgetfulness. His aim was 
to guard them against being misled by the erroneous views of the Messiah 
and of Jesus expressed by Jewish parties. They were trying to corrupt the 
hearts of his followers, and draw them from Jesus. 

Suggestive Applications. — 1. Spiritual signs are as readily discerned by 
the eye of faith as natural signs by the natural eye. 2. No signs will come 
even from heaven, when they would only confirm us in error. 3. Unbelief 
would receive no signs except such as favor its opinion. 4. Disciples some- 
times greatly misunderstood their Master. 5. The apostles were not over 
credulous ; it required long teaching and many proofs to establish them in 
the faith. 



Confessing and Cross Bearing, vs. 13-28. Compare Mark 8 : 27-38 ; 

Luke 9 : 18-27. 
Region op Cjesarea Philippi, a.d. 29. 
Analysis. — Views of men about Jesus, vs. 13, 14; Peter's confession, vs. 
15, 16 ; declaration of Jesus, vs. 17-19 ; Jesus foretells his death and resurrec- 



Common Version. 

9 Do ye not yet understand, neither re- 
member" the five loaves of the five thousand, 
and how many baskets ye took up? 

10 Neither the seven loaves of the four 
thousand, and how many baskets ye took 
up? 

11 How is it that ye do not understand 
that I spake it not to you concerning bread, 
that ye should beware of the leaven of the 
Pharisees and of the Sadducees? 

12 Then understood they how that he 
bade them not beware of the leaven of bread, 
but. of the doctrine of the Pharisees and of 
the Sadducees. 



Revised Version. 

9 because ye have no * bread? Do ye not 
yet perceive, neither remember the five 
loaves of the five thousand, and how 

10 many 2 baskets ye took up? Neither the 
seven loaves of the four thousand, and 

11 how many 2 baskets ye took up? How 
is it that ye do not. perceive that I spake 
not to you concerning 'bread? But be- 
ware of the leaven of the Pharisees and 

12 Sadducees. Then understood they how 
that he bade them not beware of the 
leaven of 1 bread, but of the teaching of 
the Pharisees and Sudducees. 



1 Gr. loaves. 2 Basket in vs. 9 and 10 represents different Greek words. 



166 A COMMENTARY ON THE GOSPEL OF MATTHEW. [Matt. 16. 

tion, v. 21 ; is rebuked by Peter, v. 22 ; Peter is rebuked, v. 23 ; cross-bear- 
ing, vs. 24-27 ; prophecy of Christ's coming, v. 28. 

The Retirements of Jesus. — Not less than seven conspicuous instances 
of the retirement of Jesus from his foes are noted in the Gospels : 

(1) From Judaea, Matt. 4 : 12 ; Mark 1 : 14 ; John 4 : 1, 3. (2) From Naz- 
areth, Matt. 4 : 13 ; Luke 4 : 30. (3) To and from Gergesa, Matt. 8 : 18 ; Mark 
4 : 35 ; Luke 8 : 22, 37. (4) After the death of John, Matt. 14 : 13 ; Mark 6 : 
31 ; Luke 9 : 10 ; John 6 : 1. (5) Into Tyre and Sidon, Matt. 15 : 21 ; Mark 
7 : 24. (6) After the coalition of Pharisees and Sadducees, Matt. 16 : 13 ; 
Mark 8 : 27. (7) Into Ephraim, John 11 : 54. 

The one here noted by Matthew is perhaps the most marked of them all. 
The Pharisees and Sadducees had attempted to entangle him. Herod Antipas, 
having beheaded John, was also troubled by the reports in regard to Jesus, 
thinking that he was John come back again to life to avenge his death. 
Herod would be quite willing to use the Pharisees and Sadducees to rid 
himself of this new teacher. Jesus had retired to the region of Tyre and 
Sidon for a time ; but on his return, finding the excitement still strong, and 
that the Pharisees and Sadducees had combined against him, he again with- 
drew to the region of Caesarea Philippi. 

This region, like that of the Decapolis or " ten cities," was outside of the 
reach of Herod Antipas and within the territory ruled by Herod Philip. In 
the latter region he would be safe from the plots of the Pharisees and Sad- 
ducees, and he would also be beyond the reach of Herod Antipas. 

Region of Cesarea Philippi. — A satisfactory itinerary of the various 
journeys of Jesus during his ministry has not been, and probably cannot be, 
constructed from the accounts in the Gospels. Parts of these journeys, how- 
ever, can be satisfactorily determined. This is partially true of the jour- 
ney into the region of Caesarea Philippi. 

We know that Jesus was on the northeast side of the Lake of Galilee, near 
to Bethsaida (Julias). From thence it is plain that he went northward on 
the east side of the Jordan valley. That road was a good one, dotted with 
hamlets and villages, and was wholly within the tetrarchy of Philip. It is 
now the shortest road to Banias, the site of Caesarea Philippi. Mr. J. T. 
Haddad, a native Syrian, tells me that he has frequently travelled over this 
route in the government service. There are still a number of villages along 
the road, and marks of ancient towns. Readers should not be misled by 
writers of the life of Christ who describe the road on the west side. 

The region about ancient Caesarea Philippi is one of the most delightful 
resting spots in all Palestine. Springs of water abound. The chief source 
of the Jordan bursts forth from a cave-spring in a full, silver-clear stream. 
Countless smaller streams call into life a luxuriant vegetation. Woods and 
green shrubs shade the streams. Vines, olive, mulberry, apricot and fig trees 
clothe the foot of the mountain. Higher up are grain fields, then come the 
pear and the oa':, and lastly dwarf shrubs and rocky ravines. 

Above Bania . is the lofty castle Subebeh, commanding a magnificent view; 
it is an old cv ,t\e. On one of the spurs of this greatest mountain of Syria 
the transfiguration undoubtedly took place. 



Matt. 16 : 13-17.] 



CONFESSING AND CROSS-BEARING. 



167 



From Banias to the first spur of Mount Hermon is over one hour's walk, 
and to the second and more secluded peak, about three hours. 

18. came into the coasts of Cesarea Philippi] or "into the parts" 
or "villages of Caesarea Philippi." See Kevised Version and Mark 8 : 27. 
Cesarea Philippi was a town about twenty miles north of the Sea of Galilee, 
and toward Damascus. Its Greek name was Panias, now Banias. The rocks 
in the region indicate an old worship of Baal and Pan. One important branch 
of the Jordan has its source in a spring in a cave near the town. The city- 
was enlarged by Philip and named after him to distinguish it from the other 
Csesarea on the Mediterranean ; was improved by Herod Agrippa II. It now 
has many ruins and about fifty houses. It was the northern limit of our 
Lord's journeyings. 

14. Some . . . John . • . Elias • . • Jeremias] The question of 
Jesus was intended to call attention to the popular views of himself and to 
correct them. And there seems to be a plain reference to the prophecy of 
Daniel (7 : 13) in the question, as indicating the character of the Son of man. 
Herod Antipas and his court said that Jesus was John the Baptist risen from 
the dead, 14: 1, 2. But some said he was Elijah, whom the Jews expected 
to reappear, as he was taken to heaven without dying ; others that he was a 
new Jeremiah, or prophet, sent to herald the coming of some great deliver- 
ance, or possibly of the Messiah. 

16. the Christ, the Son of the living" God] Peter sees Jesus as the 
promised Messiah, and also recognizes his divine nature, the Son of God, 
the living one. Peter speaks for all the apostles, and his great confession is 
recorded in slightly-varied phrase by all the evangelists. It is important to 
note — (1) Peter spoke what all the apostles confessed; (2) the confession 
recognized the Messianic and divine character of Jesus. 

17. Simon Bar-jona] Simon, son of Jonah. Jesus here calls Peter by 
his earlier name, calling to mind his former religious state as contrasted with 
his present remarkable confession which now entitled him to be called truly 
Peter (a rock). Not " flesh and blood," that is, not man, but God had revealed 
this truth to him and to them. Mark, reporting Peter's account, omits noting 
the honor bestowed on Peter. 



Common Version. 

13 fl When Jesus came into the coasts of 
Cesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, say- 
ing, Whom do men say that I, the Son of 
man, am? 

14 And they said, Some say that thou art 
John the Baptist ; some, Elias ; and others, 
Jeremias, or one of the prophets. 

15 He saith unto them, But whom say ye 
that I am ? 

16 And Simon Peter answered and said. 
Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living 
God. 

17 And Jesus answered and said unto him, 
Blessed art thou, Simon Bar-jona: for flesh 
and hlood hath not revealed it unto thee, 
hut my Father which is in heaven. 



Revised Version. 

13 Now when Jesus came into the parts 
of Csesarea Philippi, he asked his disci- 
ples, saying, Who do men say l that the 

14 Son of man is? And they said, Some say 
John the Baptist; some, Elijah: and oth- 
ers, Jeremiah, or one of the prophets. 

15 He saith unto them, But who say ye that 

16 I am? And Simon Peter answered and 
said, Thou art the Christ, the Son of the 

17 living God. And Jesus answered and 
said unto him, Blessed art thou, Simon 
Har-Jouah : for flesh and hlood hath not 
revealed it unto thee, but my Father who 



Many ancient authorities read that I the Sou of man am. See Mark 8 : 27 ; Luke 9 : 18. 



168 A COMMENTARY ON THE GOSPEL OF MATTHEW. [Matt. 16: 18. 

18. and upon this rock I will build] This passage is the rock on 
which Papists and Protestants split. What does this declaration of Jesus 
mean? In explaining its meaning, the great confession of Peter which 
was the occasion of it must be borne in mind. Jesus uses two distinct 
figures: (1) the formation of a building ; (2) a steward, porter or custodian 
of a building, v. 19. While the two are interpreted separately, the interpre- 
tation of the one is closely linked with that of the other. A careful reading 
will make it clear also that Jesus is here describing the human organization 
of the Church, and therefore the human, not divine, element in its foundation. 
If this is kept firmly in mind, it will aid in gaining a right understanding 
of this much-disputed passage. The declaration respecting the foundation 
will be considered first, and then the power of the keys. 

Among the explanations of the foundation are — I. The Romanist, that 
Jesus referred to Peter only as the future official head and primate of the 
Church. But that Peter was bishop of Rome is disputed, and that the 
bishops or popes of Pome are his successors rests upon assumption. Upon 
this assumption are based the amazing pretensions of the pope of Pome. 
View I. is presented by Baronius, Bellarniine and other papal writers. It is 
directly contrary (1) to all other Scripture ; (2) to Peter's own claims, 1 Pet. 
5 : 1-3 and 2 : 4-6 ; (3) to the position actually accorded him by the apostles, 
Gal. 2 : 7-14 ; (4) to that given by Jesus himself to other apostles, Matt. 
18 : 18, John 20: 23 ; and (5) it is inconsistent with the figure here used, since 
a foundation is not transferable. II. That Jesus referred not to Peter, but to 
his confession only, which may be indicated by the supposed play on the Greek 
words Petros and petra. It is favored by Huss, Calvin, Luther, Gregory 
the Great, Ewald and others. This is the extreme opposite of the Romanist 
interpretation, but is surrounded with many difficulties. The Church is not 
founded of nor on confessions alone, but of and on living persons. III. That 
Jesus referred to himself. This he did when he said " destroy this temple " 
(John 2: 19-21), perhaps adding a gesture to make the meaning definite. 
It is an old view favored by Jerome, Augustine in later life, Fabricius, A. 
Clarke, Calovius, Wordsworth, and apparently J. A. Alexander. It is a 
truth; Christ is elsewhere called the "foundation" (1 Cor. 3:11), and also 
the "chief corner-stone" (Eph. 2: 20-22). The reference in John 2 : 19 is 
expressly explained there as referring to Jesus. Here there is no such ex- 
planation, and the context does not favor such an interpretation. And since 
Jesus probably spoke Aramaic, not Greek, it is " begging the question " to 
assume that the change in the grammatical form of the word Petros favors 
it. Moreover " upon this rock " points to Peter, not to Jesus. See Meyer 
in loco. This view seems to require us to read into the text the gesture or 
something not there. IV. That Jesus referred to Simon in view of his great 



Common Version. 



18 And I say also unto thee, That thou 
art Peter, and upon this rock I will huild 
my church ; and the gates of hell shall not 
prevail against it. 

1 Gr. Petros. 2 Gr. petra. 



Revised Version. 



18 is in heaven. And I also say unto thee, 
that thou art * Peter, and upon this 2 rock 
I will huild my church ; and the gates of 



Matt. 16 : 19.] 



CONFESSING AND CROSS-BEARING. 



169 



confession. He was rightly named Peter — " a rock " — because of his rock- 
like faith and life, given him of God. As such a divinely -renewed soul liv- 
ing in Christ, Peter would become the first human foundation stone built 
into the Church; not first in importance necessarily, but first in the order of 
time. This is not building the foundation of the Church on a confession, but 
constructing it of a redeemed person, redeemed in Christ. For in weighing 
these interpretations it is important to remember — (1) That Christ is else- 
where represented as the divine founder, and also the divine foundation, 
of the Church. (2) That in the Gospels he is usually the founder, not 
the foundation, Matt. 28 : 18, 19 ; Mark 16 : 15 ; Luke 24 : 46, 47 ; John 
15 : 16 ; Acts 1 : 8. (3) In other New Testament books he is more es- 
pecially the foundation, 1 Cor. 3:11; Eph. 2: 20-22. Christ must then be 
accepted as the divine founder and the divine foundation of his Church. 
His reference here is plainly to the human organization and foundation of his 
Church on earth, not to the divine foundation. In the human elements going 
into his Church, Peter, from his remarkable confession given him of God, 
is declared as in order of time the first living stone. Compare Peter's own 
words, " Ye also as lively stones are built up a spiritual house," 1 Pet. 2 : 5. 
This honor of being of the first lively stones, and the power of binding and 
loosing, he shared with the other apostles, as will be seen later. Compare 
18 : 18 and Eph. 2 : 20-22 ; Gal. 2:9; Rev. 21 : 14 ; John 20 : 23. Peter was 
prominent at the Pentecost and in other labors in spreading the Church in 
Judaea. But this prominence is widely different from the monstrous assump- 
tion of papal primacy for him and for an endless chain of successors claimed 
by Rome. There is no satisfactory evidence that Peter or any other of the 
apostles had official successors. This fourth view gives full sense to the 
expression used by Jesus in his declaration, and is consistent with other 
Scripture and with the early history of the Church. It is favored substan- 
tially by many of the fathers, by Alford, Meyer, De Wette, Lange, Olshausen, 
Grotius, D. Brown, Schaflf. Whedon and many others, although some of them 
do not clearly distinguish that here Jesus describes the human as distinct from 
the divine foundation, and hence confuse it with view number 2, above. 

my church] The Greek word for Church occurs only thrice in the Gos- 
pel, here and twice in Matt. 18 : 17. It is used to translate the Hebrew word 
for congregation, and implied that Jesus was intending to found, (1) an as- 
sembly of followers ; (2) it was to be organized in some form resembling the 
Jewish " congregation," or " ecclesia." The Church thus founded would never 
be overcome ; not even the " gates of hell " would ever prevail against it. 
This must be understood of the Church in its completeness ; for local 
churches do die, but the Church of Jesus Christ lives. All the forces of 
death and hell have not overpowered and will not overpower it. 

19. give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven] Here the 



Common Version. 

19 And I will give unto thee the keys of 
the kingdom of heaven: and whatsoever 
thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound iu 



Revised Version. 

19 Hades shall not prevail against it. T will 
give unto thee the keys of the kingdom 
of heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt 



170 



A COMMENTARY ON THE GOSPEL OF MATTHEW. [Matt. 16 : 20, 21. 



figure changes from a " foundation " to a " porter " or " doorkeeper." The 
" kingdom of heaven " must refer to the same thing as the ecclesia, " my 
Church," in v. 18. The same " power of the keys " is afterward given to the 
apostles in common, thus superseding any supposed claim of Peter to the sole 
power of the keys, as now asserted by the pope of Rome. The steward of a 
house bore the key, as a symbol of authority. So Peter, as steward, was to 
open the gates of the Church to the Gentiles, hitherto virtually closed against 
them. So Peter himself explains his conduct with Cornelius. See Acts 15: 
7. From Matt. 18 : 18 and John 20 : 23, we infer that Jesus conferred on 
Peter and then on the apostles the authority to make specific rules for the 
organized Church. They would be authorized to release those in the new 
kingdom from the binding authority of the Pharisees and the ceremonials 
of the Jewish ritual, and to bring them into the freedom of true men in Christ 
Jesus, subject only to his teachings. The "binding" and "loosing" were 
phrases common in the Jewish schools, implying that whoever " bound " had 
the power to declare an act forbidden by a rule or law. Whatever they 
" loosed " was allowed by law. So " binding " and " loosing " in the new 
organization signified the authority to declare who might be admitted, and 
what the members of the new order could and could not properly do. By 
proclaiming the gospel as directed in the final commission, the apostles 
opened the " kingdom " to those willing and fitted to enter. That the apostles 
had any official successors, and that this " power of the keys " could be trans- 
mitted by them, are points that are stoutly disputed. The prevalent evan- 
gelical view is that so far as this " power of the keys " can now be authori- 
tatively used, it belongs to the Church. Good men differ about how this power 
ought to be exercised. Some hold it must be by the direct act of the entire 
membership in each case, because, if it may be done by a few, it might be by 
one, which ends in primacy. Others hold that the Church may govern through 
representatives, since it is difficult, if not impossible, to have direct voting by 
each member in every case. But whatever be the view on these points, it is 
clear from Scripture that the Church has a divine authority for self-govern- 
ment in some form, subject only to its founder, Christ. 

20. tell no man ... he was . • . the Christ] The people had be- 
come zealous in his support, and might again try to make him king by force. 
This would be rebellion against Rome. The Pharisees on the other hand were 
watching for a chance to catch and destroy him. This would be their oppor- 
tunity. To allow his disciples to declare him to be the Messiah would bring a 
collision with the dominant Jewish sects, thus prematurely ending his work. 

21. shew unto his disciples] Now that the disciples began to realize 



Common Version. 

heaven; and whatsoever thou shalt loose on 
earth shall he loosed in heaven. 

20 Then charged he his disciples that they 
should tell no man that he was Jesus the 
Christ. 

21 fl From that time forth began Jesus to 
shew unto his disciples, how that he must 



Revised Version. 

bind on earth shall be bound in heaven : 
and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth 

20 shall be loosed in heaven. Then charged 
he the disciples that they should tell no 
man that he was the Christ. 

21 From that time began 1 Jesus to shew 
unto his disciples, how that he must go 



1 Some ancient authorities read Jesus Christ. 



Matt. 16 : 22-26.J 



CONFESSING AND CROSS-BEARING. 



171 



the true character of Jesus, this conflict and final issue could not long be 
avoided. He saw the end approaching, and desired to strengthen their faith 
for the trial by foretelling the coming events, the dark, cruel end, and the 
final triumph — the resurrection. 

22. Peter ... to rebuke him] The foremost to confess is now the 
foremost to oppose his Lord and to thwart his purpose. This shows how 
imperfect a conception Peter had of the Messiah's work on the earth. 

23. behind me, Satan] Peter, taking the place of the tempter, is now 
addressed as Satan. From being authorized to carry the keys of the king- 
dom of heaven, he is suddenly counted by the same divine Master as if head 
of the kingdom of hell. When he makes the great confession, he is a foun- 
dation stone of the church ; when he would dissuade Jesus from the Mes- 
sianic work, he becomes a leader in the kingdom of darkness, an " offence," 
literally, "my stumbling-block" says the divine Founder of the church. 
" Savourest" or " mindest" is in the Greek " to have one's mind on a thing," 
and in political phrase implied " to take a side." Hence the meaning is, 
thou art not on God's side, but on man's. 

24. take up his cross] From a final trial of the cross which he was 
to endure, Jesus is naturally led to speak of the trials and the crosses which 
all his followers will be compelled to bear. On verse 25 see 10 : 39. 

26. what is a man profited] The word for " soul " is the same in 
this verse as the word for " life " in v. 25. See Revised Version. Of what 
profit would it be to a man to gain or acquire by trading the whole world, 
and lose his own life ? Or, if his life be lost, what shall he give to recover 
or redeem it? When the bargain is made, closed, the life gone, what 
has a man left to redeem it with ? It is the picture of Satan giving all a 
worldly man desires, and demanding the " soul " or life, which the man 
gives. Now when his life is thus gone, what has the man to redeem his life 
with ? He has nothing ; for the question involves the hopeless contradic- 
tion of a dead man redeeming anything. 



Common Version. 

go unto Jerusalem, and suffer many things 
of the elders and chief priests and scribes, 
and be killed, and be raised again the third 
day. 

22 Then Peter took him, and began to re- 
buke him, saying, Be it far from thee, Lord: 
this shall not be unto thee. 

23 But he turned, and said unto Peter, Get 
thee behind me, Satan : thou art an offence 
unto me: for thou savourest not the things 
that be of God, but those that be of men. 

24 ^ Then said Jesus unto his disciples, If 
any man will come after me, let him deny 
himself, and take up his cross, and follow me. 

25 For whosoever will save his life shall 
losf> it: and whosoever will lose his life for 
my sake shall (hid it. 

26 For what is a man profited, if he shall 
tiain the whole world, and lose his own soul? 
or what shall a man give in exchange for 
his soul? 



Revised Version. 

unto Jerusalem, and suffer many things 
of the elders and chief priests and scribes, 
and be killed, and the third day be raised 

22 up. And Peter took him, and began to 
rebuke him, saying, x Be it far from thee, 

23 Lord: this shall never be unto thee. But 
he turned, and said unto Peter, Get thee 
behind me, Satan: thou art a stumbling- 
block unto me : for thou mindest not the 
things of God, but the things of men. 

24 Then said Jesus unto his disciples, If any 
man would come after me, let him deny 
himself, and take up his cross, and follow 

25 me. For whosoever would save his life 
shall lose it: and whosoever shall lose 

26 his life for my sake shall find it. For 
what shall a man be profited, if he shall 
gain the whole world, and forfeit his 
2 life? or what shall a man give in ex- 



1 Or, God have mercy on thee 



2 Or, soul 



172 A COMMENTARY ON THE GOSPEL OF MATTHEW. [Matt. 16 : 27, 28 ; 17 : 1. 

27. For the Son of man shall come] The self-denial of saints will 
be temporary, their cross-bearing not long, for the Son of man will finally 
come to reward their suffering for his sake ; and if them, then those also 
who have foolishly bargained away their spiritual life for ease and luxury 
will be rewarded. "Everyman according to his doing." The "work" or 
"doing" as an expression of character will be a basis of judgment. 

28. shall not taste Of death, etc.] This cannot well refer to the final 
coming of Christ, spoken of in v. 27, for all the apostles and those to whom 
the words were addressed have died ; and the expression, too, is not the same 
as in v. 27. It must here refer either (1) to the transfiguration seen by Peter, 
James and John, or (2) to the coming of Christ through the Holy Spirit as 
on the day of Pentecost, or (3) to his coming in judgment on Jerusalem at its 
fall. Or. it may have reference to all these events as a proof of his coming 
to establish his kingdom. For some of the apostles lived to see all these 
events. Each of these crises was a significant proof of the coming or estab- 
lishment of the kingdom of Christ. 

Suggestive Applications. — 1. An apostle even cannot confer faith upon 
another ; it is a gift of God. 2. Our view of Christ is a test of our Christian 
character. 3. To know him as the divine Redeemer and to confess him are 
steps to salvation. 4. The Church on earth is built of the redeemed. 5. The 
Holy Spirit in the Church guides in the right use of the " keys of the king- 
dom." 6. No human or church authority can shut a soul out of heaven. It 
may bar one from the Church, but unbelief in Christ alone will exclude from 
heaven. 7. The final awards and punishments are sure. 



Chap. XVII. The Transfiguration, vs. 1-13. 

9 : 28-36. 



Mark 9 : 2-13 ; Luke 



Region of Cesarea Philippi, a.d. 29. 

1. after six days] Three evangelists give this remarkable event. Each 
marks a definite time. The six days of Matthew and Mark exclude, and the 
eight days of Luke include, the day before and after the interval. Six days 
of toil and work, followed by a seventh day of glory ; this is the order of 
God in creation, as in manifestation. 

into a high mountain] A tradition reaching back to the fourth century, 
mentioned first by Cyril of Jerusalem, places the transfiguration on Mount 



Common Version. 

27 For the Son of man shall come in the 
glory of his Father with his angels; and 
then he shall reward every man according 
to his works. 

28 Verily I say unto you, There he some 
standing here, which shall not taste of death, 
till they see the Son of man coming in his 
kingdom. 

(^HAP. XVII.— And after six days Jesus 
j taketh Peter, James, and John his 
brother, and bringeth them up into a high 
mountain apart, 

* Or, soul 



Revised Version. 

27 change for his Uife? For the Son of 
man shall come in the glory of his Father 
with his angels ; and then shall he render 
unto every man according to his 2 deeds. 

28 Verily I say unto you, There are some of 
them that stand here, who shall in no 
wise taste of death, til! they see the Son 
of man coming in his kingdom. 

17 And after six days Jesus taketh with 
him Peter, and James, and John his 
brother, and bringeth them up into a 

2 Gr. doing. 



— 

— 
c 

S 



<X OB. 



P 2 

C" ° 

s $ 

a a 

* J? 

cr 

c ha 

SB 

< 



53 

a 




Matt. 17 : 2-4.] 



THE TRANSFIGURATION. 



173 



Tabor. An earlier tradition places it on the Mount of Olives, near Jerusa- 
lem. Neither tradition is of much value. The historical evidences are 
strongly against both. Little solitude could have been found on either at 
that time, as both had buildings — Tabor a fortress and stronghold. Jesus 
was in the region of Csesarea Philippi; Tabor is not there, nor is it a " high 
mountain." Some peak or spur of Hermon in the vicinity of Csesarea 
Philippi is the most probable scene of the transfiguration. Hermon is the 
highest and most conspicuous mountain in Palestine. Jesus took with him 
Peter, who had made the great confession, and James and John, the two who 
were always prominent in the apostolate. These three disciples were chosen 
with the father and mother to witness the raising of Jairus' daughter, Mark 
5 : 37, 38, and later to be witnesses of the awful agony in Gethsemane, Matt. 
26 : 37. Three witnesses were all the law required to certify to any fact, 
Deut. 17 : 6, and enough under Christian rule, 18 : 16. 

2. transfigured before them] Literally, "metamorphosed"; it im- 
plies more than a mere change of outward appearance. This transformation 
came on as he prayed, as Luke tells us. They had gone up the mountain 
towards evening. While Jesus prayed night came on ; the disciples, over- 
come with weariness and sleep, appear to have wrapped themselves in their 
abbas, or cloaks, and reclined on the ground. His face became bright, as did 
the face of Moses when he came from the mount of the law, and his raiment 
was as the light. 

8. appeared • • • Moses and Elias] Moses represented the law, and 
Elijah the prophets. This account is not that of a dream or an ecstatic vis- 
ion ; nor is it a highly-colored legend. The entire narration is in simple 
historical language, the farthest removed from imaginative or colored state- 
ments. The appearance of Moses and Elijah was a real yet spiritual ap- 
pearance, no doubt similar to that of Jesus to the disciples after his resurrec- 
tion. How they could, as spiritual beings, thus become visible to the dis- 
ciples, and how they could be recognized, it is useless to speculate. It is use- 
less also to conjecture by what process Jesus could be so transformed as to 
resemble a Wing of light and glory. The facts are stated by competent wit- 
nesses, and in the inspired Gospels ; and we reverently accept them, as we do 
hundreds of other facts, even in nature, which the human mind is utterly 
unable to explain. The great subject of conversation between Moses, Elijah 
and Jesus was the death of Christ at Jerusalem ; blessed and comforting 
words from the celestial world on this coming trial ! 

4-. three tabernacles] Peter, impulsive and ready for every good work, 
proposes to make three booths, similar to those built by Palestine peasants, 



Common Version. 

2 And was transfigured before them : and 
his face did shine as the sun, and his raiment 
was white as the light. 

3 And, behold, there appeared unto them 
Moses and Elias talking with him. 

4 Then answered Peter, and said unto 
Jesus, Lord, it is good for us to be here : if 
thou wilt, let us make here three taberna- 



Revised Version. 

2 high mountain apart: and he was trans- 
figured before them : and his face did 
shine as the sun, and his garments be- 

3 came white as the light. And behold, 
there appeared unto them Moses ana 

4 Elijah talking with him. And Peter an- 
swered, and said unto Jesus, Lord, it is 
good for us to be here : if thou wilt, I will 



174 



A COMMENTARY ON THE GOSPEL OF MATTHEW. [Matt. 17 : 5-11. 



for shelter from the sun and for a lodge at night. They were also the shelter 
used during the seven days of the feast of tabernacles. Lev. 23 : 42. Peter 
would prolong their stay by making this shelter of boughs, and so enjoy and 
have his Master enjoy this heavenly feast. Christ teaches us that on earth 
his people are not to seek high and ecstatic spiritual enjoyment merely, but 
to descend and do the Master's work and will. 

5. a bright cloud overshadowed them] Instead of the booths which 
Petes would make, they were given a bright cloud. Luke says, " they en- 
tered into the cloud," meaning that the cloud hid Moses and Elijah from 
the disciples. There seems to be no Scripture warrant for the magnificent 
picture of Raphael, which represents the three floating in the air upon a 
cloud. The voice from the cloud was as the voice at his baptism, 3 : 17. 

8. save Jesus only] The frightened disciples fell on their faces before 
the glory of this revelation, and the voice from the cloud. Jesus came and 
touched them, as the angel did Daniel. Dan. 8 : 17, 18. Partially recovered 
from their fright, they look up and see Jesus alone. The heavenly visitors 
were gone, and probably the brightness and visible glory also. They saw 
Jesus in his ordinary form and appearance. 

9. Tell the vision to no man] The " vision " is strictly what God en- 
ables us to see, as here and in Acts 7 : 31. It sometimes indicates a spiritual 
trance, Acts 10 : 3, 10-17, but the meaning is to be determined by the con- 
text. They were not to tell of this sight until Jesus had risen from the dead. 
See 16 : 20. This reminds the three disciples of the current views of the 
rabbins that Elijah would come, and, according to Lightfoot, was expected to 
reconcile the differences between the Jewish schools, and bring back the pot 
of manna and Aaron's rod, before the dead were raised and Messiah's reign 
began. Hence if you are the Messiah, they seem to say, and we are to tell 
no one of this appearing of Elijah, how is it that Elijah did not come first, 
that is, before you did? and why this secret and brief stay? Do the scribes 
rightly interpret prophecy ? 



Common Version. 

cles; one for thee, and one for Moses, and 
one for Elias. 

5 While he yet spake, behold, a bright 
cloud overshadowed them : and behold a 
voice out of the cloud, which said, This is 
my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased ; 
hear ye him. 

6 And when the disciples heard it, they 
fell on their face, and were sore afraid. 

7 And Jesus came and touched them, and 
said, Arise, and be not afraid. 

8 And when they had lifted up their eyes, 
they saw no man, save Jesus only. 

9 And as they came down from the mount- 
ain, Jesus charged them, saying, Tell the 
vision to no man, until the Son of man be 
risen again from the dead. 

10 And his disciples asked him, saying, 
Why then say the scribes that Elias must 
first come? 

11 And Jesus answered and said unto 



Revised Version. 

make here three l tabernacles ; one for 
thee, and one for Moses, and one for Eli- 

5 jah. While he was yet speaking, behold, 
a bright cloud overshadowed them : and 
behold, a voice out of the cloud, saying, 
This is my beloved Son, in whom I am 

6 well pleased; hear ye him. And when 
the disciples heard it, they fell on their 

7 face, and were sore afraid. And Jesus 
came and touched them and said, Arise, 

8 and be not afraid. And lifting up their 
eyes, they saw no one, save Jesus only. 

9 And as they were coming down from 
the mountain, Jesus commanded them, 
saying, Tell the vision to no man, until 
the Son of man be risen from the dead. 

10 And his disciples asked him, saying, Why 
then say the scribes that Elijah must first 

11 come? And he answered and said, Elv 



1 Or, booths 



Matt. 17 : 12-15.] THE WEAK FAITH OF THE DISCIPLES. 



175 



12. Elias is come] Yes, Jesus answers, the scribes correctly say Elijah 
indeed comes to restore all things, that is, restore or recall men's minds to 
God and his kingdom, as Malachi foretold. Mai. 4 : 6. And the expected 
Elijah has come and they did not recognize him nor his work, but they 
treated him just as they wished ; that is, they allowed him to be put to death. 
The Son of man will suffer the same willful treatment at their hands. Then 
the disciples understood that he spake of John the Baptist as Elijah. 

Suggestive Applications. — 1. The transfiguration is a prophecy of the 
resurrection. 2. Divine glory may be filling the land, celestial voices sing- 
ing in the air, and our eyes be too dim to see the one and our ears too dull 
to hear the other. 3. The conscious existence of the departed ; Moses and 
Elijah converse with the living. 4. The light, glory and joy of the heavenly 
world are so great that even the Christian may be beside himself; for Peter 
knew not what he said. 5. The touch of Jesus brings us to ourselves and 
removes fear. 6. Here we are in the land of the dead and dying ; in the 
heavenly world we shall be in the land of life. 7. There was a voice from 
a cloud, the speaker unseen ; so there are voices in the deepest mysteries that 
tell of the unseen One. 



The Weak Faith of the Disciples, vs. 14-27. Mark 9 : 14-29 ; 

Luke 9 : 37-45. 
Region op C^esarea Philippi, a.d. 29. 

Analysis. — The lunatic child cured, vs. 14-21 ; Jesus again foretells his 
death, vs. 22, 23 ; the half-shekel tax found in a fish's mouth, vs. 24-27. 
(The miracle of the stater is given by Matthew only.) 

14. they were come to the multitude] The four, Jesus, Peter, James 
and John, came down from the mount of transfiguration in the morning, 
having spent the night in the mount. See Luke 9 : 37. A man had brought 
his afflicted child, and, not finding Jesus, asked the nine disciples to heal the 
lunatic or epileptic boy, possessed also of a demon. The disciples were not 
able to cure him. This failure led to a dispute with the scribes, which was 
going on as Jesus and the other three disciples came down the mount. So 
the man prays Jesus to cure his son, and tells a sad story of his falling into 
the fire or water, as an epileptic might do. He then innocently adds the 
failure of the disciples as a further reason for appealing to Jesus. 



Common Version. 

them, Elias truly shall first come, and re- 
store all things. 

12 But I say unto you, That Elias is come 
already, and they knew him not, but have 
done unto him whatsoever they listed. 
Likewise shall also the Son of man suffer of 
them. 

13 Then the disciples understood that he 
spake unto them of John the Baptist. 

14 f And when they were come to the 
multitude, there came to him a certain man, 
kneeling down to him, and saying, 

15 Lord, have mercy on my son ; for he is 
lunatic, and sore vexed : for ofttimes he fall- 
eth into the fire, and oft into the water. 



Kevised Version. 

jah indeed cometh, and shall restore all 

12 things: but I say unto you, that Elijah 
is come already, and they knew him not, 
but did unto him whatsoever they listed. 
Even so shall the Son of man also suffer 

13 of them. Then understood the disciples 
that he spake unto them of John the 
Baptist. 

14 And when they were come to the mul- 
titude, there came to him a man, kneel- 

15 ing to him, and saying, Lord, have mercy 
on my son : for he is epileptic, and suffer- 
eth grievously: for oft-times he falleth 
into the fire, and oft-times into the water. 



176 A COMMENTARY ON THE GOSPEL OE MATTHEW. [Matt. 17 : 16-22. 

17. Ofaithlessandperver.se generation] This exclamation of grief, 
disappointment and rebuke was intended for all, for the disciples, the scribes 
and the crowd. It was a reproof to the disciples for their little faith. The 
added expression, how long shall I bear with you ? is very significant. It 
indicates that Jesus' life was one long-continued suffering from the faithless- 
ness of his followers and of the people. It also gives a hint of his speedy de- 
pasture from them ; then they must get along alone. 

18. the child was cured] The expressions of grief and pain from 
Jesus ended with a call for the child. The boy was brought, and seeing 
Jesus, he fell into a violent convulsion, foaming at the mouth, a dumb, help- 
less child. Mark tells us more particulars. He had been afflicted from a 
little child, was dumb and often powerless to control his own movements, or 
to keep from destroying himself. And the father implores help ; it is offered 
if he will believe. The poor father cries out " I believe," but lest his faith 
should be too little, like that of the nine disciples, he adds, with tears, " help 
thou mine unbelief." Then with a word Jesus rebukes the demon, and the 
child is instantly cured. All the people were amazed at this mighty power 
of God. Luke 9 : 43. 

19. Why could not we cast him [it] out ?] Mortified and ashamed 
of their failure, and not taking in the reproof of v. 17, the nine disciples ask 
Jesus, as soon as they are alone with him, why they failed. He repeats what 
he had said, only in another form. Faithlessness, unbelief, was the cause of 
their failure. If they had a growing faith, like a mustard seed (13 : 31), they 
would not fail. Faith would succeed anywhere, in any work for Christ. 
Though the obstacle were as great and seemingly as immovable as the tower- 
ing mass of Hermon, it would disappear at their word if they had faith. But 
true fasting and prayer alone could bring such mighty results. Not the mount- 
ains of difficulties, but the molehills of faith, bring failure to God's servants. 

22. l)e betrayed] The disciples had been only faintly impressed with 

Common Version. Revised Version. 



16 And I brought him to thy disciples, 
and they could not cure him. 

17 Then Jesus answered and said, O faith- 
less and perverse generation, how long shall 
I be with you ? how long shall I suffer you ? 
bring him hither to me. 

18 And Jesus rebuked the devil ; and he 
departed out of him : and the child was 
cured from that very hour. 

19 Then came the disciples to Jesus apart, 
and said, Why could not we cast him out? 

20 And Jesus said unto them, Because of 
your unbelief: for verily I say unto you, If 
ye have faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye 
shall say unto this mountain, Remove hence 
to yonder place; and it shall remove: and 
nothing shall be impossible unto you. 

21 Howbeit this kind goeth not out but 
by prayer and fasting. 

22 "|[ And while they abode in Galilee, 
Jesus said unto them, The Son of man shall 
be betrayed into the hands of men : 

1 Many authorities, some ancient, insert v. 21, But this kind goeth not otd save by prayer 
and fasting. See Mark 9 : 29. 2 Some ancient authorities read were gathering themselves to* 
gether. 



16 And I brought him to thy disciples, and 

17 they could not cure him. And Jesus an- 
swered and said, O faithless and perverse 
generation, how long shall I be with you ? 
how long shall I bear with you? bring 

18 him hither to me. And Jesus rebuked 
him ; and the demon went out from him : 
and the boy was cured from that hour. 

19 Then came the disciples to Jesus apart, 
and said, Why could not we cast it out ? 

20 And he saith unto them, Because of your 
little faith : for verily I say unto you, If 
ye have faith as a grain of mustard seed, 
ye shall say unto this mountain, Remove 
hence to yonder place; and it shall re- 
move; and nothing shall be impossible 
unto you. 1 

22 And while they 2 abode in Galilee, Jesus 
said unto them, The Son of man shall be 



Matt. 17:23-27.] 



THE WEAK FAITH OP THE DISCIPLES. 



m 



the coming sorrows, and needed to have their minds again prepared for those 
events. So Jesus again very plainly states how he will be delivered to his 
enemies, slain, and raised again on the third day. Even this great plain- 
ness of speech only made them very sad, but they did not really understand 
what he meant by it, as Luke tells us, and were afraid to ask him. 

24. they that received tribute] From the region of Csesarea Philippi 
to Capernaum was a journey of about thirty miles. It may have occupied, 
however, several days. There were villages on the way. Preaching and 
healing would make the journey a slow one. At Capernaum Peter is asked 
if his Master does not pay the temple tax. The collectors imply that he had, 
but now was neglecting it. In his zeal Peter tells them his Master does pay 
it. When they came into the house Jesus "spake first "=" anticipated" 
Peter, asking whether sons or "subjects" paid tax. He would show Peter 
that he as Lord of the temple, and his disciples as servants of the temple, 
could claim to be free of such tax. A yearly tax of half-shekel was paid by all 
male Jews twenty years old and upward, first as ransom, then reduced, for the 
sanctuary and temple. Ex. 30 : 13, 15 ; 2 Chron. 24 : 6, 9 ; Neh. 10 : 32. In New 
Testament times it again became a half shekel, equal to the didrachma, the 
Greek word rendered " tribute" in the Authorized Version and " half shekel" 
in the Revised Version. This tribute could not be enforced by civil law ; it 
was voluntary tribute, which gives added significance to the Lord's question 
to Peter. The value of the drachma was about twenty cents, hence the di- 
drachma or half shekel was about forty cents. 

27. cast a hook] This is the only mention of fishing with a hook in 
the New Testament. The "piece of money," or "shekel" as the Revised 
Version reads, is literally a " stater." The gold stater was worth about five 
to six dollars. But the temple tax for Peter and Jesus would be only four 
drachmas, or about seventy-five to eighty cents. This silver stater taken from 
the mouth of the fish was equal in value to four drachmas. Hence it was 
exactly the amount needed. This was to be paid. Jesus would not have 



Common Version. 

23 And they shall kill him, and the third 
day he shall be raised again. And they 
were exceeding sorry. 

24 <[ And when they were come to Caper- 
naum, they that received tribute money 
came to Peter, and said, Doth not your mas- 
ter pay tribute? 

25 He saith, Yes. And when he was come 
into the house, Jesus prevented him, saying, 
What thinkest thou, Simon? of whom do 
the kings of the earth take custom or trib- 
bute ? of their own children, or of strangers ? 

26 Peter saith unto him, Of strangers. 
Jesus saith unto him, Then are the children 
free. 

27 Notwithstanding, lest we should offend 
them, go thou to the sea, and cast a hook, 
and take up the fish that first cometh up ; 
and when thou hast opened his mouth, thou 
shalt find a piece of money: that take, and 
give unto them for me and thee. 



Revised Version. 

23 delivered up into the hands of men ; and 
they shall kill him, and the third day he 
shall be raised up. And they were ex- 
ceeding sorry. 

24 And when they were come to Caper- 
naum, they that received the * half-shekel 
came to Peter, and said, Doth not your 

25 2 master pay the 1 half-shekel? He saith, 
Yea. And when he came into the house, 
Jesus spake first to him, saying, What 
thinkest thou, Simon? the kings of the 
earth, from whom do they receive toll or 
tribute? from their sons, or from stran- 

26 gers? And when he said, From strangers, 
Jesus said unto him, Therefore the sons 

27 are free. But, lest we cause them to stum- 
ble, go thou to the sea, and cast a hook, 
and take up the fish that first cometh 
up; and when thou hast opened his 
mouth, thou shalt find a 3 shekel: that 
take, and give unto them for me and thee. 



*Gr. didrachma. 



12 



2 Or, teacher 



3 Gr. stater. 



178 A COMMENTARY ON THE GOSPEL OF MATTHEW. [Matt. 18:1. 

even the scribes suppose that he despised the temple or its worship. He 
would not needlessly wound their consciences in this matter. In non- 
essentials he would yield, for peace, and not insist upon his rights. For 
Christ, the Messiah, Matt. 16 : 16, was King of the temple, and not subject to 
the customary temple tax. The tribute was gathered by messengers (Hebrew 
shelilim) who went out in the spring, visiting each town or district at an 
appointed time. Probably at the time fixed for Capernaum Jesus was away 
from the city. The urgent demand upon Peter implies some apparent neglect 
to pay, as the collectors supposed. 

Peter was directed to take the stater from the fish's mouth and pay the tax 
for himself and his Master, literally, " instead of me and thee." The pay- 
ment was regarded as a redemption of the person paying it, Ex. 30 : 12. 
Here is unexpected proof of the precision of the evangelist. The didrachma 
as a coin had fallen into disuse, and the stater, the Greek term used by Mat- 
thew, had taken its place ; it was the exact equivalent of the shekel. 

Peter, no doubt, promptly obeyed his Master, caught the fish and paid 
the tax, though no record is made of it. Had it not been done, the 
scribes would have been sure to charge this against Jesus. It would teach 
Peter and the others a lesson, not to expect to be exempt from bearing a 
share in the support of the services of the sanctuary. 

Suggestive Applications. — 1. Sense of misery may bring men to Christ. 
2. Parents may bring their children to Jesus to be healed of sin and of the 
works of the devil. 3. Christ will help us even in our partial faith, or un- 
belief. 4. Faith can remove all obstacles in Christian work. 5. The sanctuary 
worship is to be sustained, even though the worship may be imperfect. 

Chap. XVIII. Christ's Care for His Little Ones. vs. 1-20. Mark 

9 : 33-48 ; Luke 9 : 46-48 ; 15 : 3-7 ; 17 : 3, 4. 

Capernaum, a.d. 29. 

Analysis. — Greatest and least in the kingdom, vs. 1-4 (Mark 9 : 33-37 ; 
Luke 9 : 46-48) ; Christ's little ones, vs. 5, 6 ; offences, vs. 7-9 ; parable of the 
lost sheep, vs. 10-14 ; forgiveness of an erring brother, vs. 15-20. 

1. Who is the greatest] or, literally, " Who then is greater in the 
kingdom of the heavens ?" Compare the Revised Version. " At the same 
time," or " in that hour," refers to the time when Jesus was having that 
conversation with Peter about the temple tax. The disciples had disputed 
who should be the greater in the kingdom of heaven, that is, the new 
kingdom of their Master. Jesus knew of it, asked them about it, as Mark 
says, and then they referred the matter finally to Jesus, as Matthew states. 
This question is the key to the teaching of Jesus which follows in the 
chapter. 



Common Version. 

CHAP. XVIII.— At the same time came 
the disciples unto Jesus, saying, Who 
Ja the greatest in the kingdom of heaven ? 

1 Gr. greater. 



Revised Version. 

18 In that hour came the disciples unto 
Jesus, saying, Who then is greatest in 



Matt. 18:2-7.] CHRIST'S CAKE FOR HIS LITTLE ONES. 179 

2. called a little cliild] Here Jesus gives the twelve an " object lesson " 
on humility. The "object" is a child. An old tradition says the little one 
was Ignatius, afterward bishop of Antioch. But the tradition is not trust- 
worthy. The instruction was given in the house. The house may have been 
Peter's. The child may have been his too. See Mark 9 : 33-36. 

3. be converted] literally, "except ye be turned" — see Acts 7 : 39, 42 — 
from your unholy ambition and from your sin, and become child-like, teach- 
able, and get a moral disposition as innocent and simple-hearted as young 
children, you will never get into the kingdom ; much less become greatest or 
great in that kingdom. With your ambitious spirit you cannot enter this 
kingdom. Moreover, the whole tenor of this teaching implies that hier- 
archical domination could have no place among the members of Christ's 
kingdom. 

4. humble himself as this little child] Not one assuming humil- 
ity. A child is naturally humble ; " a king's child thinks no more of great- 
ness than a beggar's." Christ will reward, receiving such as if he had 
himself been received. An old writer remarks, "the little child does not 
humble himself; he is humble." But man has to "humble himself." The 
humblest is the greatest. Here is a marvellous Christian paradox in respect 
to rank. The greatest descends upward ! Chrysostom supposes it was a very 
young child, free from the mania for glory. An old tradition says the child 
was the afterwards famous Ignatius of Antioch, who suffered martyrdom in 
Rome about A.d. 107. But this story is not well supported. 

6. a millstone] Offending such child-like and Christ-like character 
would be so severely punished that it would be a gain to such an offender if 
he were drowned in the sea, with a large millstone (which only an ass or 
animal could turn) hanging about his neck. This form of punishment was 
not Jewish. It was known in Greece and Rome, as a swifter penalty for 
crime than death by the cross. Jerome states that it was practiced in Galilee 
by the Romans. 

7. Woe unto the world . • . offences!] There would be obstacles, 
stumbling-blocks to the faith of Christ's weak ones, in the world. But woe 



Common Version. 



2 And Jesus called a little child unto him, 
and set him in the midst of them, 

3 And said, Verily I say unto you, Except 
ye be converted, and become as little chil- 
dren, ye shall not enter into the kingdom 
of heaven. 

4 Whosoever therefore shall humble him- 
self as this little child, the same is greatest 
in the kingdom of heaven. 

5 And whoso shall receive one such little 
child in my name receiveth me. 

6 But whoso shall offend one of these little 
ones which believe in me, it were better for 
him that a millstone were haneed about his 
neck, and that he were drowned in the depth 
of the sea. 

7 fl Woe unto the world because of offences ! 
for it must needs be that offences come; 

1 Gr. greater. a Gr. a millstone turned by an ass. 



Revised Version. 



2 the kingdom of heaven ? And he called 
to him a little child, and set him in the 

3 midst of them, and said, Verily I say unto 
you, Except ye turn, and become as little 
children, ye shall in no wise enter into 

4 the kingdom of heaven. Whosoever there- 
fore shall humble himself as this little 
child, the same is the l greatest in the 

5 kingdom, of heaven. And whoso shall 
receive one such little child in my name 

6 receiveth me: but whoso shall cause one 
of these little ones that believe on me to 
stumble, it is profitable for him that 2 a 
great millstone should be hanged about 
his neck, and that he should be sunk in 

7 the depth of the sea. Woe unto the world 
because of occasions of stumbling! for it 



180 



A COMMENTARY ON THE GOSPEL OF MATTHEW. [Matt. 18:8-12. 



is pronounced upon those who willfully or carelessly are the cause or the 
occasion for such stumbling. On verses 8 and 9, see notes under 5 : 29, 30. 

10. that ye despise iiot one of these] One almost thinks he sees a 
contemptuous smile on the faces of some of the disciples as they looked at 
the child to which Jesus pointed while giving them this "object lesson." 
Soon after the disciples rebuked those bringing little children to Jesus. 
This shows their low notions on training children. So Jesus rebukes their 
spirit, and warns them against undervaluing the child-like, the weak, the 
ignorant, who have friends in heaven. They have powerful angel guard- 
ians there. On the idea of guardian angels, compare Ps. 34 : 7 ; 91 : 11 ; 
Heb. 1 : 14 and Luke 15:7; 16 : 22 ; John 20 : 12. 

11. come to save] This verse is omitted in the Revised Version and 
in many old MSS. of this Gospel. The same words are found in another 
connection in Luke 19 : 10, where there is no question of their genuineness. 

12. a hundred sheep, and one ... he g'one astray] This parable 
appears in another connection in Luke 15 : 3-7. It is quite natural and 
probable to suppose that Jesus used the same illustration on more than one 
occasion. Here the shepherd seeks the lost sheep in the mountains; in 
Luke he leaves the ninety-nine in the wilderness. But the slight variations 
are unimportant. It is a fine picture of eastern shepherd life. The shep- 
herd has his flock feeding on the hills. He misses a sheep. He leaves the 
flock, that is comparatively safe, and seeks the lost. If it comes to pass that 
he finds it, his joy is greater of finding the lost one than over the ninety-nine. 
The meaning is that God's pity and love go out for these " little ones," 
" erring ones," " lost ones," and his grace specially seeks them, not wishing 
them to perish. God's care for these little ones then being so great, you 
should take heed not to offend or despise them. The connection here would 
imply that the one spiritually astray was a member of the flock. But in Luke 



Common Version. 

but woe to that man by whom the offence 
cometh ! 

8 Wherefore if thy hand or thy foot offend 
thee, cut them off, and cast them from thee : 
it is better for thee to enter into life halt or 
maimed, rather than having two hands or 
two feet to be cast into everlasting fire. 

9 And if thine eye offend thee, pluck it 
out, and cast, it from thee: it is better for 
thee to enter into life with one eye, rather 
than having two eyes to be cast into hell fire. 

10 Take heed that ye despise not one of 
these little ones; for I say unto you, That 
in heaven their angels do always behold the 
face of my Father which is in heaven. 

11 For the Son of man is come to save 
that which was lost. 

12 How think ye? if a man have a hun- 
dred sheep, and one of them be gone astray, 
doth he not leave the ninety and nine, and 
goeth into the mountains, and seeketh that 



Revised Version. 

must needs be that the occasions come; 
but woe to that man through whom the 

8 occasion cometh ! And if thy hand or 
thy foot causeth thee to stumble, cut it 
offj and cast it from thee: it is good for 
thee to enter into life maimed or halt, 
rather than having two hands or two feet 

9 to be cast into the eternal fire. And if 
thine eye causeth thee to stumble, pluck 
it out, and cast it from thee: it is good 
for thee to enter into life with one eye, 
rather than having two eyes to be cast 

10 into the * hell of fire. See that ye despise 
not one of these little ones ; for I say unto 
you, that in heaven their angels do always 
behold the face of my Father who is in 

12 heaven. 2 How think ye? if any man 
have a hundred sheep, and one of them 
be gone astray, doth he not leave the 
ninety and nine, and go unto the mount- 
ains, and seek that which goeth astray ? 



which is gone astray? 

i Gr. Gehenna of fire. 2 Many authorities, some ancient, insert v. 11 For the Son of man 
came to save that which was lost. See Luke 19 : 10. 



Matt. 18 : 13-18.] 



CHRIST'S CAKE FOR HIS LITTLE ONES. 



181 



our Lord makes a broader application of it to a sinner, not before in the 
flock. 

15. if thy brother shall trespass] " And if thy brother sin against 
thee," see Revised Version. The connection is : you must not despise one 
of these little ones, and if one of them, as your brother, sin against you, then 
you are to tell him his fault alone. The fault supposed is a private and per- 
sonal one ; so it is to be brought to his conscience by a private interview 
between the offender and the offended alone. If that private admonition is 
successful, you have gained a brother — not merely gained him as a friend, 
but saved him from being lost by his sin. If that fails, the next step is to go 
witli one or two, avoiding publicity, yet providing proper legal witnesses of 
the effort to bring the person to see the fault. Thus Jesus requires the one 
who sutlers the wrong to show his humility by his kind and patient love in 
seeking to reclaim the wrong-doer. 

10. take • . . one or two more] If you fail in the private admonition, 
then take one or two members of the kingdom, as advisers and witnesses, 
and try as before to win him from his error. This is in accord with the old 
law. Lev. 19 : 17 ; Deut. 19 : 15. See also 1 Cor. 6 : 5. 

17. tell it unto the church] If still the offender refuses to listen to ad- 
monition, then tell it to the Church, the " ecclesia" literally and accurately, 
to the " congregation ;" not Jewish but Christian, whether general or local, 
formally organized or merely an assembly of believers. Even Alford con- 
cedes that this cannot mean the Church represented by a hierarchy or rulers. 
See verses 19, 20. If the offender refuses to listen to the admonition of the 
" congregation," then you are to cease fellowship with him. This is not the 
institution of excommunication ; it is rather the principle from which excom- 
munication may be deduced and on which it may be founded. You are to 
treat the offender as you would any non-member of the kingdom, or any 
sinner. He is unworthy of your Christian fellowship. 

18. Whatsoever ye shall bind] Here the " power of the keys," which 



Common Version. 

13 And if so be that he find it, verily I say 
unto you, he rejoioeth more of that sheep, 
than of the ninety and nine which went not 
astray. 

14 Even so it is not the will of your Father 
which is in heaven, that one of these little 
ones should perish. 

15 *\\ Moreover if thy brother shall trespass 
against thee, go and tell him his fault be- 
tween thee and him alone : if he shall hear 
thee, thou hast gained thy brother. 

16 But if he will not hear thee, then take 
with thee one or two more, that in the 
mouth of two or three witnesses every word 
may be established. 

17 And if he shall neglect to hear them, 
tell it unto the churcb : but if he neglect to 
hear the church, let him be unto thee as a 
heathen man and a publican. 

18 Verily I say unto you, Whatsoever ye 

1 (Jr. a thing willed before your Father. 2 Some ancient authorities read my. 
cient authorities omit against thee. 4 Or, congregation 



Revised Version. 

13 And if so be that he find it, verily I say 
unto you, he rejoiceth over it more than 
over the ninety and nine which have not 

14 gone astray. Even so it is not * the will 
of 2 your Father who is in heaven, that 
one of these little ones should perish. 

15 And if thy brother sin 3 against thee, 
go, shew him his fault between thee and 
him alone: if he hear thee, thou hast 

16 gained thy brother. But if he hear thee 
not, take with thee one or two more, that 
at the mouth of two witnesses or three 

17 every word may be established. And if 
he refuse to hear them, tell it unto the 
4 church: and if he refuse to hear the 
4 church also, let him be unto thee as the 

18 Gentile and the publican. Verily I say 
unto you, What things soever ye shall 



3 Some an* 



182 



A COMMENTARY ON THE GOSPEL OF MATTHEW. [Matt. 18 : 19-21. 



had been conferred on Peter, 16 : 19, is now conferred on the twelve, or, more 
widely, on "the disciples" — all members of the "kingdom of heaven." 
That the power is the same is evident from the similarity of expression. 
See notes under 16 : 19. 

19. if two of yon shall agree] As proof that you shall have this 
power of binding and loosing, of spiritual discipline in the new society of 
believers, I give you a further promise. If any two of you truly mine 
will agree to make any request of God, he will grant it. Of course, spiritual 
conditions are understood. For spiritual children, like all true children, 
will ask in accord with the will and for the glory of the divine Father. 
These are the only limitations. The promise is unlimited along all the lines 
of spiritual needs. Geikie limits this to discipline in the Church, but the 
language makes no such limitation. It includes discipline, and whatever 
grows out of associated Christian life. See Acts 4:31 ; 12:5, 16. To "cast 
down mountains" (of doubt), to " uproot fig trees" (of vice and error) were 
current aphorisms of the rabbinical schools. The divine Presence sanctions 
the gathering. The "power of the keys" is there. Where Christ and two 
disciples are, there is a Christian church. 

Suggestive Applications. — 1. " Primacy in the kingdom of heaven be- 
longs to obscure children." — Lange. 2. " He who is lowest in his own eyes, 
and in those of the world, is greatest before God." — Zeisius. 3. Training 
children must give joy to angels. 4. Private offences should be privately 
rebuked. 5. Not numbers, but the presence of Christ, gives power to the 
Church. 6. Christians are not to fellowship incorrigible offenders. 7. Unity 
and prayer among Christians bring Christ and all the power of heaven to 
their help. 



Forgiveness, vs. 21-35. Luke 17 : 1-4. 
Capernaum, a.d. 29. 
Topics. — Peter's question, How oft forgive? vs. 21, 22. Parable of the 
king's servants, vs. 23-35. 

21. Lord, how oft shall ... I forgive] Peter seems to have been 
troubled over the command in v. 15. The rabbins said one must ask forgive- 
ness three times, but need not ask it a fourth time. Peter had gained an idea 
that Jesus requires more than they, so he fixes upon the sacred or complete 
number seven, and asks if he must forgive his brother seven times. 



Common Version. 

shall bind on earth shall be bound in 
heaven ; and whatsoever ye shall loose on 
earth shall be loosed in heaven. 

19 Again I say unto you, That if two of 
you shall agree on earth as touching any 
thing that they shall ask, it shall be done 
for them of my Father which is in heaven. 

20 For where two or three are gathered 
together in my name, there am I in the 
midst of them. 

21 fl Then came Peter to him, and said, 
Lord, how oft shall my brother sin against 
me, and I forgive him? till seven times? 



Revised Version. 

bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: 
and what things soever ye shall loose on 

19 earth shall be loosed in heaven. Again 
I say unto you, that if two of you shall 
agree on earth as touching anything that 
they shall ask, it shall be done for them 

20 of my Father who is in heaven. For 
where two or three are gathered together 
in my name, there am I in the midst of 
them. 

21 Then came Peter, and said unto him. 
Lord, how oft shall my brother sin against 
me, and I forgive him ? until seven times? 



Matt. 18:22-27.] FORGIVENESS. 183 

22. Jesus saith . . . Until seventy times seven] Peter wished to 
find the limit to this duty ; 77 times or 70 X 7 = 490 times. The answer im- 
plies that there is no limit ; for, as Chrysostom says, Jesus does not here 
intend to imply a limited number, but that the number of times a brother 
should be forgiven is unlimited. Forgiveness is to be continuous and ever- 
lasting. Compare Luke 17:4; Mark 11 : 25 ; Matt. 6 : 14. 

23. a certain king"] This parable of the " unmerciful," or more ac- 
curately "the unforgiving, servant" enforces the duty of having always a 
forgiving mind. In the parable, the king represents God, the servants man- 
kind, the debt to the king our sin against God, the debt between the fellow 
servants our wrong against each other ; the reckoning is not the final judg- 
ment, but the law of God brought home to the conscience and convicting of 
sin. Some points in the parallel must not be pressed too closely. 

24. begun to reckon] It is a graphic picture of an Oriental court. The 
king had not gone far in settling with his servants. Such reckoning with 
farmers of taxes and other officials was common. The kingdom of heaven 
is likened unto a " certain king," literally " a human king," so unlike to the 
heavenly King that only a few acts of the former bear any resemblance to 
those of the latter. Among the first brought before him is a prominent serv- 
ant, perhaps a revenue collector, or governor of some province, who owed 
ten thousand talents. If the silver Attic talent was meant, the sum would 
be from ten to twelve millions of dollars. The Syrian talent would be 
smaller, but the gold talent a much larger sum. The ten thousand talents 
owed may suggest the ten commandments which the sinner ought to have 
kept. 

25. to be sold] The picture, remember, is of a heathen court. Yet the 
Mosaic law allowed a debtor and his family to be sold. Lev. 25 : 39-41 ; 
Deut. 15:12; 2 Kings 4 : 1. The debt for an ordinary citizen would be hope- 
less. If he were an under officer or governor, the promise of payment might 
be made with some possibility of meeting it. But it is clear this debtor had 
not before realized the immense sum he owed. He may have pleaded for time, 
and made extravagant promises, as is common in eastern courts to this day. 



Common Version. 

22 Jesus saith unto him, I say not unto 
thee, Until seven times : but, Until seventy 
times seven. 

28 \\ Therefore is the kingdom of heaven 
likened unto a certain king, which would 
take account of his servants. 

24 And when he had begun to reckon, one 
was brought unto him, which owed him ten 
thousand talents. 

25 But forasmuch as he had not to pay, 
his lord commanded him to he sold, and his 
wife, and children, and all that he had, and 
payment to be made. 

'Jti The servant therefore fell down, and 
worshipped him, saying, Lord, have patience 
with me, and T will pay thee all. 

27 Then the lord of that servant was 

1 Or, seventy times and seven, 2 Gr. bondservants. 3 This talent was probably worth about 
£240. 4 Gr. bondservant. 



Revised Version. 

22 Jesus saith unto him, I say not unto thee, 
Until seven times; but, Until 1 seventy 

23 times seven. Therefore is the kingdom 
of heaven likened unto a certain king, 
who would make a reckoning with his 

24 2 servants. And when he had begun to 
reckon, one was brought unto him, who 

25 owed him ten thousand 3 talents. But 
forasmuch as he had not wherewith to 
pay, his lord commanded him to be sold, 
and his wife, and children, and all that 

26 he had, and payment to be made. The 
4 servant therefore fell down and wor- 
shipped him, saying, Lord, have patience 

27 with me, and i will pay thee all. And 
the lord of that 4 servant, being moved 



184 



A COMMENTARY ON THE GOSPEL OF MATTHEW. [Matt. 18 : 28-35. 



28. Pay • . . that tllOll OWest] or "pay what thou owest." The 
" hundred pence " is literally " hundred denarii." A denarius was equal to 
15 cents. So the sum owed was equal to about $15. This he wished paid 
at once ; such arbitrary and forcible collection being common in eastern life. 
This servant makes precisely the same plea which the other had made to his 
king. The king granted the request. The forgiven servant refused to for- 
give or to grant any time for payment of the debt due him. 

30. cast him into prison] Usually imprisonment in the East was tem- 
porary ; yet it was sometimes extended to years for debt. The master had 
ordered the servant and his family to be sold into slavery. The servant casts 
his fellow servant into prison. Now the master spares the family, but hands 
the unforgiving servant to the tormentors. 

34. his lord was] Having been forgiven, the servant refused to for- 
give ; so he is called up for rebuke and judgment. God's promise of-forgive- 
ness is based on our forgiving our fellow men. See 6 : 14, 15; James 2 : 13. 
The debt is remitted on the implied condition that he will be forgiving. 
Violating this condition, the debt declared forgiven holds against the debtor. 
The main point which the parable is meant to enforce must be kept in sight. 
It is that there is no more limit to the forgiveness we are to grant to a fellow 
man than there is to the forgiveness we seek from God. The forgiving 
spirit must be as continual in us as our desire for forgiveness. We may be 
also reminded of the immensity of our debt to God, as compared with the in- 
significance of that which any person can owe to us. 

35. if ye from your hearts forgive not] So God will not forgive 



Common Version. 

moved with compassion, and loosed him, 
*and forgave him the debt. 

28 But the same servant went out, and 
found one of his fellow servants, which 
owed him a hundred pence: and he laid 
hands on him, and took him by the throat, 
saying, Pay me that thou owest. 

29 And his fellow servant fell down at his 
feet, and besought him, saying, Have pa- 
tience with me, and I will pay thee all. 

30 And he would not: but went and cast 
him into prison, until he should pay the 
debt. 

31 So when his fellow servants saw what 
was done, they were very sorry, and came 
and told unto their lord all that was done. 

32 Then his lord, after that he had called 
him, said unto him, O thou wicked servant, 
I forgave thee all that debt, because thou 
desiredst me : 

33 Shouldest not thou also have had com- 
passion on thy fellow servant, even as I had 
pity on thee? 

34 And his lord was wroth, and delivered 
him to the tormentors, till he should pay all 
that was due unto him. 

35 So likewise shall my heavenly Father 
do also unto you, if ye from your hearts 
forgive not every one his brother their tres- 
passes. 

1 Gr. loan. 2 Gr. bondservant, 3 The word in 
pence halfpenny. 



Revised Version. 

with compassion, released him, and for- 

28 gave him the Mebt. But that 2 servant 
went out, and found one of his fellow- 
servants, who owed him a hundred 3 shil- 
lings: and he laid hold on him, and took 
him by the throat, saying, Pay what thou 

29 owest. So his fellow-servant fell down 
and besought him, saying, Have patience 

30 with me, and I will pay thee. And he 
would not: but went and cast him into 
prison, till he should pay that which was 

31 due. So when his fellow-servants saw 
what was done, they were exceeding 
sorry, and came and told unto their lord 

32 all that was done. Then his lord called 
him unto him, and saith to him, Thou 
wicked 2 servant, I forgave thee all that 
debt, because thou besouglitest me: 

33 shouldest not thou also have had mercy 
on thy fellow-servant, even as I had 

34 mercy on thee? And his lord was 
wroth, and delivered him to the tor- 
mentors, till he should pay all that was 

85 due. So shall also my heavenly Father 
do unto you, if ye forgive not every one 
his brother from your hearts. 



the Greek denotes a coin worth about eight 



Matt. 19 : 1-3.] JESUS ON MARRIAGE AND THE FAMILY. 



185 



us, unless we truly forgive others. This is the main point, and is in harmony 
with Matt. 6 : 14, 15. The parable cannot safely be pressed to teach more. 
God is ready to forgive ; but upon condition that we imitate him by having 
a forgiving spirit. 

Suggestive Applications. — 1. We ought never to have an unforgiving 
spirit. 2. Sin is the debt we owe to God. 3. It is so great a debt that we 
will never be able to pay it. 4. The pardon of sin is due to God's grace. 
5. Because we have received forgiveness we should be ready to forgive. 6. 
We must forgive from the heart. 7. If we do not thus forgive, we cannot 
hope to be- forgiven of God. 



Chap. XIX. Jesus on Marriage and the Family, vs. 1-15. Mark 

10:1-16. 

TerjEa, a.d. 30. 

Analysis. — Jesus leaves Galilee, v. 1 : on divorce and marriage, vs. 2-12; 
children brought to Jesus, vs. 13-15. 

Connection of Events. — Jesus left Galilee when he had finished his dis- 
course on forgiveness. Matthew notes that he went into Persea, on the east of 
Jordan, and was followed by great multitudes. He did many miracles of heal- 
ing. But were these successive acts which Matthew mentions, without other 
intervening events ? The narratives here and in Luke 9 : 51 to 17 : 11, and 
in John 7 : 8 to 11 : 54, are very difficult for the harmonists. Many of them 
suppose that here vs. 1, 2 cover several months of our Lord's ministry, the 
particulars of which are to be learned from the above passages in Luke and 
John. According to Kobinson, Jesus sent out the seventy from Capernaum; 
went himself through Samaria to Jerusalem to the feast of tabernacles ; the 
seventy return to him there ; he retires beyond Jordan ; returns and raises 
Lazarus ; again retires to Ephraim and Persea, where the teachings and in- 
cidents in Luke 13 : 10 to 18 : 14 took place, followed by this instruction on 
marriage and the family. Matt. 19 : 1-15 and Mark 10 : 2-12. 

1. came into the coasts of Judaea beyond Jordan] Some understand 
by this that Jesus came into Judcea by way of Persea, avoiding Samaria. So 
the Cambridge Bible interprets it. But it is more consistent with the lan- 
guage of Matthew to understand that Jesus came into Percea, on the coast or 
borders of Judaea. So Matthew says he went into the borders of Tyre, 15 : 21. 
This account omits his visits to Jerusalem and to Bethany to raise Lazarus. 

3. Is it lawful ... to put away his wife for every cause ?] Mark 
omits "for every cause." The question was intended as a trap to catch Jesus. 



Common Version. 

CHAP. XIX.— And it came to pass, that 
when Jesus had finished these sayings, 
he departed from Galilee, and came into the 
coasts of Judea beyond Jordan ; 

2 And great multitudes followed him ; and 
he healed them there. 

3 fl The Pharisees also came unto him, 
tempting him, and saying unto him, Is it 



Revised Version. 

19 And it came to pass when Jesus had 
finished these words, he departed from 
Galilee, and came into the borders of 

2 Judcea beyond Jordan ; and great multi- 
tudes followed him ; and he healed them 
there. 

3 And there came unto him l Pharisee* 



x Many authorities, some ancient, insert the. 



186 



A COMMENTARY ON THE GOSPEL OF MATTHEW. [Matt. 19 : 4-8. 



John the Baptist had offended Herod Antipas on this point, and was finally 
beheaded. Jesus was now in Herod's dominion. The Mosaic law said a 
man might divorce his wife if " he hath found some uncleanness in her," 
or, as the Revised Version reads, " hath found some unseemly thing in her." 
Deut. 24 : 1-3. What did this mean ? The school of Hillel said it allowed 
divorce for any cause, at the judgment or discretion of the man. The school 
of Shammai held that it allowed divorce in the case of adultery only. In 
Greece and Rome a man might dismiss his wife at his pleasure, without any 
judicial decree. So Cicero dismissed Terentia, who had been his wife for 
thirty years, and Cato gave his wife to a friend. 

4. Have ye not read ... at the beginning] Mark tells us that 
when the question was asked, Jesus answered by asking what Moses com- 
manded. They tell him. He then points them to this earlier law as evi- 
dence that Moses did not command, but merely permitted, this putting away of 
a wife, because of the low state of morals and the wickedness of those times. 
See v. 8. 

5. shall be one flesh] In the beginning God created mankind, male 
and female. This relation of man and wife was as important as, and at matu- 
rity took precedence over, that of child and parent ; for the twain shall be 
one in all earthly relations and in life. Thus the tie cannot be broken during 
life. Only death can sunder it ; it is of divine appointment. See People's 
Commentary on Mark, 10 : 1-12. 

7. Why did Moses then command] They are not satisfied. They 
see a good opportunity for bringing Jesus into collision with Moses. Jesus 
answers in substance, Moses did not command, he suffered; that is, he threw 
upon you the responsibility of sundering this tie, because of your bad hearts. 
It was not the highest moral rule ; it was the best you would be likely to re- 
spect. This is a great principle. Laws may be relatively, not absolutely, 
good. This is still in many directions true. Public interpretations of the 
law of marriage in this Christian land are frequently about as lax as those of 
the school of Hillel. We have yet to learn the law of Christ on this subject. 



Common Version. 

lawful for a man to put away his wife for 
every cause ? 

4 And he answered and said unto them, 
Have ye not read, that he which made them 
at the beginning made them male and fe- 
male, 

5 And said, For this cause shall a man 
leave father and mother, and shall cleave to 
his wife: and they twain shall be one flesh? 

6 Wherefore they are no more twain, but 
one flesh. What therefore God bath joined 
together, let not man put asunder. 

7 They say unto him, Why did Moses then 
command to give a writing of divorcement, 
and to put her away? 

8 He saith unto them, Moses because of 
the hardness of your hearts suffered you to 
put away your wives: hut from the begin- 
ning it was not so. 



Revised Version. 

trying him, and saying. Is it lawful for a 
man to put away his wife for every cause ? 

4 And he answered and said, Have ye not 
read, that he who * made them from the 
beginning made them male and female, 

5 and said, For this cause shall a man leave 
his father and mother, and shall cleave 
to his wife ; and the twain shall become 

6 one flesh? So that they are no more 
twain, but one flesh. What therefore 
God hath joined together, let not man 

7 put asunder. They say unto him, Why 
then did Moses command to give a bill 
of divorcement, and to put her away? 

8 lie saith unto them, Moses for your 
hardness of heart suft'ered you to put- 
away your wives: but from the begin- 



1 Some ancient authorities read created. 



Matt. 19:9-12.] JESUS ON MARRIAGE AND THE FAMILY. 187 



9. Whosoever shall put away his wife] Compare 5 : 31, 32. The 

Greek word for fornication is a derivative of a common word that stands 
for harlot or prostitute. So Milton, who held lax ideas on divorce, holds 
that " fornication meant the common prostitution of the body for sale." His 
definition of this, which is no doubt the correct one, makes the rule respect- 
ing divorce more strict than is commonly stated by evangelical writers. 
From this it seems that Jesus recognized adultery in its worst form only as 
a ground of divorce. This was the law for the disciple. No man could marry 
a woman put away for any other cause than fornication, without committing 
adultery. And no man who has put away his wife for any other cause can 
marry again without committing adultery. This is the law of marriage and 
the family for any and every Christian community. There is no reservation, 
legal or mental, in Christ's rule. 

10. If ... so ... it is not good to marry] If a man is bound so 
indissolubly to a wife, said the disciples, it is no gain to marry. The school 
of Hillel seems to have been more popular than the stricter one of Shammai. 
The former held that a man might put away his wife if she spoiled or burned 
his dinner. So Milton, who wanted to divorce his wife, reasoned that it was 
a great hardship for a man to be bound to a wife who had become repugnant 
to him. And men now prefer to interpret the law of divorce so as to please 
their tastes, passions or desires. The number of divorces granted in Ameri- 
can courts, and the number of trivial causes upon which they are often ob- 
tained, ought to be a burning disgrace to any decent heathen country. The 
disciples jumped to the opposite extreme, that it might be better to reject 
marriage, or not to marry, if the marriage tie was so strong. But Jesus at 
once points out the difficulty and the danger of such a position. Only a few 
could follow such advice as theirs and keep pure. 

12. eunuchs for the kingdom of heaven's sake] The Greek for 
"eunuch" means literally a "bed-keeper." Such persons were chiefly em- 
ployed as house-servants in eastern harems and by dignitaries of the court. 
In this verse Jesus appears to use the word eunuch in a broad sense to in- 



Common Version. 

9 And I say unto you, Whosoever shall put 
away his wife, except it be for fornication, 
and shall marry another, committeth :adul- 
tery: and whoso marrieth her which is put 
away doth commit adultery. 

10 \ His disciples say unto him, If the case 
of the man be so with his wife, it is not good 
to marry. 

11 But he said unto them, All men cannot 
receive this saying, save they to whom it is 
given. 

12 For there are some eunuchs, which were 
so born from their mother's womb : and 
there are some eunuchs, which were made 



Revised Version. 

9 ning it hath not been so. And I say 
unto you, Whosoever shall put away his 
wife, ! except for fornication, and shall 
marry another, committeth adultery: 
2 and he that marrieth her when she is 

10 put away committeth adultery. The dis- 
ciples say unto him, If the case of the 
man is so with his wife, it is not expc- 

11 dient to marry. But he said unto them, 
All men cannot receive this saying, but 

12 they to whom it is given. For there are 
eunuchs, that were so born from their 
mother's womb: and there are eunuchs, 
that were made eunuchs by- men: and 



eunuchs of men: and there be eunuchs, | there are eunuchs, that made themselves 
which have made themselves eunuchs for i eunuchs for the kingdom of heaven's 
the kingdom of heaven's sake. He that is j sake. He that is able to receive it, let 
able to receive it, let him receive it. I him receive it. 

1 Some ancient authorities read saving for the cause of fornication, maketh her an adul- 
teress : as in ch. 5 : 32. 2 The following words, to the end of the verse, are omitted by some 
ancient authorities. 



188 



A COMMENTARY ON THE GOSPEL OF MATTHEW. [Matt. 19 : 13, 14. 



elude all those who are unfit for the married state, and also those who master 
the desire so that they may be fairly counted spiritually incapable of being 
conquered by carnal desire. There are three classes : (1) those born incapable 
of the marriage state ; (2) those who are made so by misfortune and by 
wicked men ; (3) those who deliberately choose this condition for some 
higher ends. The word then does not necessarily imply a condition of 
natural unfitness for the marriage state. Paul voluntarily chose to remain 
unmarried. He treats this question in 1 Cor. 7. But he there says he gives 
merely his own opinion, not a specific command from the Lord. Though 
his teaching implies that in certain conditions of society, as in times of per- 
secution and trial in the Church, celibacy may be advantageous, yet it is not 
the rule. Marriage is the rule, celibacy the exception. There is no warrant 
for imposing celibacy upon a whole class of persons. There is no good 
ground for the Roman Catholic doctrine of enforced celibacy of their 
priests. Some of the apostles we know were married, as Peter and others 
(1 Cor. 9 : 5), and marriage is used in Scripture as a symbol of Christ's 
union with the Church. Rev. 19 : 7-9. 

13. brought unto him little children] Were they too small to come 
by themselves ? Luke says they were " infants " or " babes." Some think they 
were little children who pressed to touch Jesus, and to be blessed by him. 
Mark implies that fathers brought them. Jews and others in the East often 
carried their children to holy men, great rabbis, to be blessed. The blessing 
was usually bestowed by placing the hands upon them and praying for a bless- 
ing to come upon them. The disciples were unwilling to have their Master 
bothered with children. He had work enough with adults. So when modern 
Sunday-schools were first proposed some good men opposed them. 

14. Suffer [the] little children] Jesus welcomed the children. He 
commanded his disciples to give an easy road for the children to come. The 
reason annexed is, " of such is the kingdom of heaven." Some say this 
means only that those who are child-like Christians get into this kingdom. 
This is the point emphasized in Mark 10 : 15 and Luke 18 : 17. 

But that truth is there apparently a corollary or inference from the pre- 
ceding statement, which is the same as here in Matthew. There is no seri- 
ous question in respect to the inferential truth ; the great point is to know 
what was the primal truth intended. This turns upon the force of the last 
clause. 

of such is the kingdom of heaven] Does this mean that "little chil- 
dren" are the "kingdom of heaven"? The answer turns partly upon the 
meaning of "such." The Greek word is toiovtw =toiouton, which in classic 



Common Version. 

13 fl Then were there brought unto him 
little children, that he should put his hands 
on them, and pray: and the disciples re- 
buked them. 

14 But Jesus said, Suffer little children, 
and forbid them not, to come unto me ; for 
of such is the kingdom of heaven. 



Revised Version. 

13 Then were there brought unto him lit- 
tle children, that he should lay his hands 
on them, and pray: and the disciples 

14 rebuked them. But Jesus said, Suffer 
the little children, and forbid them not, 
to come unto me: for Ho such belongeth 



i Or, of such is 



Matt. 19.] JESUS ON MARRIAGE AND THE FAMILY. 189 

speech signifies " of this kind" or " this sort." It is frequently so used in the 
New Testament. Paul uses it to designate persons of the same character or 
class, thus : " As is the earthy, such are they also that are earthy : and as is 
the heavenly, such are they also that are heavenly," 1 Cor. 15 : 48. Referring 
to those who questioned his apostolic authority, he adds : " Let such a one 
reckon this," etc., 2 Cor. 10 : 11, R. V. It is applied to a class of deeds, "who 
judgest them that practice such things," Rom. 2 : 3, R. V. Once it is ren- 
dered " like," but there it designates persons of the same class or occupation, 
" with the workmen of like [the same] occupation," Acts 19 : 25. It is quite 
clear that the strict grammatical sense demands that this clause here be 
understood to include all comprised by the term " little children." They are 
of the " kingdom." 

To suppose that it means those who are like children merely, is to narrow 
and limit the clear sense of Christ's words. It would make him say in effect, 
as Morrison has keenly suggested, " Hinder not these little ones from coming 
unto me. True, I am training adults only. My kingdom is no place for 
children ; it has no real little children in. it ; only such as are and act like 
children. I have no special favors for little children. Yet they are innocent 
little things, and serve as a mirror to reflect the character of those who are 
my true subjects, and so I am pleased with them !" What bitter irony would 
this have been to loving mothers ! It is impossible to believe the Saviour 
meant this. He loved little children, because they were of his kingdom ; 
belonged to it ; were in it. Little children at death would not be shut out 
of heaven ; they would not be snatched away of the devil to become his com- 
panions. They would still be Christ's, taken into his arms ! 

Note further the term "kingdom of heaven," Matthew's familiar phrase. 
Mark and Luke say " kingdom of God," the more common phrase with them. 
But neither evangelist says "of the church." The "kingdom of heaven" 
and "the church" are not identical terms in the Gospels. The "kingdom 
of heaven" and "the kingdom of God" designate the true body of Christ, 
whether on earth or in heaven. The " church," Greek ecclesia or " assembly," 
designates usually the congregation of Christ's professed followers on earth, 
the outward organization. It is the " kingdom" Christ came to set up ; over 
it he is Messiah, the anointed King. Of that realm are little children, so he 
distinctly declares. This is the truth, and the only truth, presented here by 
Matthew. Elsewhere he notices that Jesus taught the other truth, that Mark 
and Luke declare was interred from the first important statement. When 
the disciples were having an unseemly dispute about which should be the 
greatest, Matthew points out the other phase of this doctrine, Matt. 18 : 1-3. 
Therefore we conclude the Saviour taught both views. There may be mul- 
titudes of children lost in Adam, but saved in Christ, who were born with a 
sinful nature, yet never lived to years of accountability, and so never became 
sinners by their own conscious act. (See "belongeth" in the Revised Version.) 
Jesus lays down a plain rule, intending to impress on us the importance of 
bringing children to him. We are to use every known and warranted means 
of grace in the home, Sunday-school and church to this end. It was no 



190 A COMMENTARY ON THE GOSPEL OF MATTHEW. [Matt. 10:15-18. 



superstitious act, for Jesus laid his hands on them. He granted their wisli ; 
he blessed them. 

Suggestive Applications.— 1. The family was founded at the creation. 
2. The law at the beginning was one wife for one man. 3. The law at the 
beginning gave no sanction for easy divorce. 4. The purity and stability 
of the family need to be preserved. 5. The family is the rule, the single 
state the exception, in God's plan. 6. In either state chastity and purity are 
required. 7. We may glorify Christ by bringing children to him 8. Christ 
is tender toward the young. 9. Christ blesses children. 

The Rich Young Man. vs. 16-26. Mark 10 : 17-27 ; Luke 18 : 18-27. 

Per^ea, a.d. 30. 

Analysis. — The rich young man's question, vs. 16-22 ; disadvantages of 
riches, vs. 23-26. 

This event is narrated by three evangelists. The account of Mark is more 
full than the others ; yet Matthew almost equals Mark in fullness of detail. 

16. that I may have eternal life] Luke tells us the young man was 
a ruler, and Mark that he came " running and kneeling " in his earnestness. 
He was evidently a moral young man. He was in the synagogue — a ruler. 
He was rich. He had leisure for thought. He could have given himself 
to worldly enjoyment. His conscience was not satisfied. He longed for 
something better than his wealth and his membership in the Jewish Church ; 
so he hastens to Jesus with the great question, " What shall I do ?" 

17. keep the commandments] Jesus perceives that the young ruler 
wants to merit the kingdom ; to do something to inherit eternal life — that is, 
receive it as of right, not of grace. So he tells him, " keep the command- 
ments," given by the good One. See the Revised Version. With an air of sur- 
prise at the simplicity of the answer, he asks, " Which ?" He would know to 
what class of the many commandments enjoined by the rabbins, and to 
which one, our Lord referred. Jesus puts first in his reply, duties to our 
neighbor. He cites the substance of the sixth, seventh, eighth and ninth 
commandments; he omits the tenth, relating to covetousness and hoarding 
wealth. He then adds the fifth, and a summary of the second table. This 
looked fair and reasonable to the moral young man. 



Common Version. 



15 And he laid his hands on them, and 
departed thence. 

1(5 fl And, heboid, one came and said unto 
him, Good Master, what good thing shall I 
do, that I may have eternal life? 

17 And he said unto him, Why callest 
thou me good? there is none good but one, 
that is, God : but if thou wilt enter into life, 
keep the commandments. 

18 He saith unto him, Which? Jesus said, 
Thou shalt do no murder, Thou shalt not 
commit adultery, Thou shalt not steal, Thou 
shalt not bear false witness, 

1 Or, Teacher 2 Some ancieut authorities read Good Master. See Mark 10 : 17 ; Luke 18 : 18. 
3 Some ancient authorities read Why callest thou me good f None is good save one, even 
God. See Mark 10 : 18 j Luke 18 ; 19. 



Revised Version. 

15 the kingdom of heaven. And he laid his 
hands on them, and departed thence. 

16 And behold, one came to him and said, 
12 Master, what good thing shall I do, 

17 that I may have eternal life? And he 
said unto him, 3 Why askestthou me con- 
cerning that which is good? One there 
is who is good : but if thou wouldest enter 

18 into life, keep the commandments. He 
saith unto him, Which? And Jesus said, 
Thou shalt not kill, Thou shalt not com- 
mit adultery, Thou shalt not steal, Thou 



Matt. 19 : 19-24.1 



THE RICH YOUNG MAN. 



1U1 



20. All these . . . have I . . . what lack I yet 1] These are not 
new. J have tried to find peace by observing all these. In what do I fall 
behind yet? 1 seem to lack something. The words "from my youth up" 
are omitted here in the Revised Version. They are found in two other 
Gospels, where they are undoubtedly genuine. 

21. sell . . . give to the poor . . . come . . . follow me] The 
young man made a frank statement. He followed it by a second honest 
question. He was a candid inquirer. Mark adds that Jesus having looked 
upon him loved him. In kind, loving tones he said, " one thing thou lack- 
est." If you really wish to be perfect, complete within the kingdom of 
heaven, sell all you have. Put aside love of wealth, covetousness — keep 
the tenth commandment. Our Lord concedes his own estimate of him- 
self. Sell off what you have, distribute to the poor. Then you can have 
treasure in heaven. Come, follow me. As my disciple, you will learn 
further what it is to gain eternal life. The test was a severe one. The 
seeker had discovered the hid treasure. He could not decide to part with 
his all to buy. The young man was a legalist. He wanted to earn a right 
to the kingdom. So Jesus put the test in this legal form, to reach his 
conscience. All we have is to be held subject to Christ. He is to be su- 
preme over all and in our hearts. 

22. he went away sorrowful: for . . . great possessions] Poor, 
rich, moral young man ! He wanted eternal life ; but he wanted his wealth 
more. He was very rich. It was not the greatness of his possessions, but 
the greatness of his love for them, that drove him from Christ. Wealth was 
the real idol — the god in his heart. He was moral. His life was all right up 
to this point, so far as tested. Jesus does not question his assertions. Here, 
between Christ and Mammon, he failed. He did not then choose Christ. 
Did he ever do it? We are not told. From the words of Jesus that follow, 
his case seems about hopeless. 

24. easier for a camel] The difficulty is not in riches of themselves, 
but in a man of wealth being able to keep his riches from gaining and 
holding the supreme place in his heart and life. The proverb here used 



Common Version. 

19 Honour thy father and thy mother', and, 
Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. 

20 The young nian saith unto him, All 
these things have I kept from my youth up : 
what lack I yet ? 

21 Jesus said unto him, If thou wilt be 
perfect, go and sell that thou hast, and give 
to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in 
heaven : and come and follow me. 

22 But when the young man heard that 
saying, he went away sorrowful : for he had 
great possessions. 

23 % Then said Jesus unto his disciples, 
Verily I say unto you, that a rich man shall 
hardly enter into the kingdom of heaven. 

24 And again I say unto you, It is easier 
for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, 
than for a rich man to enter into the king- 
dom of God. 



Revised Version. 

19 shalt not bear false witness, Honour thy 
father and thy mother: and, Thou shalt 

20 love thy neighbour as thyself. The 
young man saith unto him, All these 
things have I observed: what lack I yet? 

21 Jesus said unto him, If thou wouldest be 
perfect, go, sell that thou hast, and give 
to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure 

22 in heaven: and come, follow me. But 
when the young man heard the saying, 
he went away sorrowful : for he was one 
that had great possessions. 

23 And Jesus said unto his disciples, Ver- 
ily I say unto you, It is hard for a rich 
man to enter into the kingdom of heaven. 

24 And again I say unto you, It is easier for 
a camel to go through a needle's eye, than 
for a rich man to enter into the kingdom 



192 



A COMMENTARY ON THE GOSPEL Otf MATTHEW. [Matt. 19 : 25-21 



by our Lord pictures it as quite impossible naturally for a rich man to get 
into the kingdom. This proverb has been weakened by various untenable 
views, as — (1) that the reading should be K&fiiXov, cable, for KdfirjTiov, camel; 
(2) that a small gate by or in the large gate of a city was called the " needle's 
eye." Through this small gate foot-passengers entered a city, and it is sup- 
posed a camel stripped of all burdens might squeeze through it. The text 
and the facts are against both these views, and favor the literal sense. A 
similar proverb is found in the Talmud : a man even dreaming did not see 
an elephant pass through the eye of a needle. The Latins had a like saying, 
and the Koran also has it. Compare " swallow a camel," in 23: 24. 

25. Who then can be saved f] If this is the case with the rich, how 
can any of us be saved ? We all have some worldly possessions. If this 
ruler of the synagogue, who seems learned and candid, and has been pru- 
dent and provident, not wasting his wealth, finds it so utterly impossible to 
gain eternal life, how can we common fishermen ever hope to be saved, 
with our worldly possessions ? Jesus answers in substance, You cannot be 
saved on your plan. Salvation is not of man. The grace of God is needed 
to save any soul. Any man burdened with worldly things cannot get into 
the kingdom as easily as a camel could get through the eye of a needle. 
But God can help him to throw away his worldliness, God can give him 
spiritual life. So God opens the kingdom and enables souls to enter it. 

Suggestive Applications. — 1. The moral young man wants to be saved 
by his " doing." 2. If man could earn or merit salvation, why was not the 
young ruler saved ? 3. Obedience to commandments does not give peace of 
conscience. 4. There is one thing needful yet. 5. To leave Christ for Mam- 
mon does not give joy, but sorrow. 6. Great riches are a great danger. 7. 
If man were naturally holy, riches might be less dangerous ; but it is because 
man is not holy that riches are one of the greatest obstacles to salvation. 



The Disciples' Eewaed and Parable of the Laborers. 19 : 27-30 
and 20 : 1-16. Compare Mark 10 : 28-31 ; Luke 18 : 28-30. 

Per^a, a.d. 30. 

Analysis. — The reward of disciples, 19 : 28-30 ; the laborers in the vine- 
yard, 20 : 1-16. The parable of the laborers is related by Matthew only. 

27. what shall we have] The disciples were troubled. The rich 
young man, a ruler in the synagogue, had gone away sorrowful. Posses- 
sions are a great obstacle to those wishing to enter the kingdom. It is diffi- 
cult for the rich to get in. All might fail of eternal life if the conditions 



Common Version. 

25 When his disciples heard it, they were 
exceedingly amazed, saying, Who then can 
be saved ? 

26 But Jesus beheld them, and said unto 
them, With men this is impossible; but with 
God all things are possible. 

27 ^ Then answered Peter and said unto 
him, Behold, we have forsaken all, and fol- 
lowed thee; what shall we have therefore? 



Revised Version. 

25 of God. And when the disciples heard it, 
they were astonished exceedingly, saying, 

26 Who then can be saved ? And Jesus look- 
ing upon them said to them, With men this 
is impossible ; but with God all things are 

27 possible. Then answered Peter and said 
unto him, Lo, we have left all, and fol- 
lowed thee; what then shall we have? 



Matt. i9 : 28-30.] THE DISCIPLES' REWARD. 193 



were so strict. So Peter asks a definite personal question on this point. 
We have left all. They did not have great possessions, but what they had 
they left. No man can forsake more than his all. What reward shall we 
have ? This looked like expecting some equivalent for what they had given 
up. It had a mercenary air ; making the best bargain ; getting heaven on 
merit, not by grace. Yet Jesus first assures them that all sacrifice for him 
will be duly rewarded. Next he shows by the parable that the reward is not 
measured solely by the sacrifice, nor by the length of service, but by the will 
and grace of the giver. 

28. ye . . . in the regeneration] "Ye" refers to the apostles. "In 
the regeneration" means literally "in the re-becoming," the renovation, 
Titus 3 : 5, the restitution, Matt. 17 : 11, when the new kingdom would be 
established. This would be set up in time. At the end of this work, when 
the Son of man should appear in glory, the disciples should share in that 
glory and in the work of judging. See Kom. 8 : 17 ; 2 Tim. 2 : 12 ; 1 Cor. 6 : 2. 
" The twelve tribes of Israel " can scarcely be taken literally and limited to 
the Jewish nation. It is better to take them in the wider sense of all the 
Israel of God, all claiming to be of Israel, under the old and under the new 
dispensation. Matthias or Paul might take the place of Judas to make the 
twelve complete. 

29. every one that hath forsaken] or left. Seven things are named 
(an eighth in the Common Version also) as representing all kinds of sacri- 
fices for Christ's sake. The promise is without limitation to all making 
these sacrifices. This "forsaking" is not to be urged as authority for un- 
righteously neglecting aged parents, or those dependent on us for daily bread. 
Nor does it imply that we are to rush into a convent or nunnery. The 
apostles had left their chances of worldly gain, the comforts and ease of 
home, for Christ's work. There is no evidence that any of them left any 
dependent upon them in a starving or helpless condition. They sacrificed 
their own comfort, their personal pleasure, to follow Jesus. 

shall receive a hundredfold] Mark adds "in this time"; and some 
copies read "manifold" for "a hundredfold." The promise evidently refers 
to rewards in this life and in the next. It would be absurd to take it in the 
strictest literal sense, since no one would think of having a hundred mothers 
or a hundred fathers. Yet there is a sense in which it is true. When one 



Common Version. 



Revised Version. 



28 And Jesus said unto them, Verily I say 
unto you, That ye which have followed me, 
in the regeneration when the Son of man 
shall sit in the throne of his glory, ye also 
shall sit upon twelve thrones, judging the 
twelve tribes of Israel. 

29 And every one that hath forsaken 
houses, or brethren, or sisters, or father, or 
mother, or wife, or children, or lands, for 
my name's sake, shall receive a hundredfold, 
and shall inherit everlasting life. 

30 But many that are first shall be last; 
and the last shall be first. 

1 Many ancient authorities add or wife : as in Luke 18 : 29. 2 Some ancient authorities 
read manifold. 

13 



28 And Jesus said unto them, Verily I say 
unto you, that ye who have followed me, 
in the regeneration when the Son of man 
shall sit on the throne of his glory, ye also 
shall sit upon twelve thrones, judging the 

29 twelve tribes of Israel. And every one 
that hath left houses, or brethren, or sis- 
ters, or father, or mother, 1 or children, or 
lands, for my name's sake, shall receive 
2 a hundredfold, and shall inherit eternal 

30 life. But many shall be last that are first ; 
and first that are last. 



194 



A COMMENTARY ON THE GOSPEL OF MATTHEW. [Matt. 20: 1,2. 



comes into the new kingdom, his spiritual sympathies multiply his relation- 
skips. He has new eyes. The earth is new. He has new homes, fields, 
friends, joys, possessions. His spiritual renewal brings manifold experi- 
ences. His love and joy in his earthly relationships are immeasurably in- 
creased. So this promise has a literal fulfillment. 

20: 1. Parable of the laborers. Of this parable Trench says it "stands 
only second to that of the unjust steward in the number of explanations 
... if indeed second in the difficulties which it presents." The difficulties 
are — 1. To harmonize it with the proverb which introduces it, 19 : 30, and 
also ends it, 20 : 16. 2. How the murmurers of v. 11 can be regarded as 
in the kingdom. The same difficulty is found in the elder brother of the 
parable of the prodigal son. 3. If they are not regarded as members of the 
kingdom, why should they have labored all day, and have borne away their 
reward ? 4. What is the main lesson of the parable ? 

Let us begin with the last difficulty. As Dean Mansel judiciously ob- 
serves, " if the parable taken by itself is beset with difficulties, the context 
by which it is introduced is comparatively plain." Interpret the parable by 
the context, not the context by the parable ; for it is a safe rule to interpret 
the more difficult by the less difficult text. The parable is introduced by 
the proverb in 19 : 30, spoken by Jesus in answer to the question of Peter 
about the reward of the disciples, 19 : 27-29. The key to the parable, there- 
fore, is in 19 : 27. In substance he had said : 1. Those who have left all 
for my sake shall have a reward. 2. The forsaking all may sometimes 
be accompanied by such a spirit that not even the first to follow will gain 
a higher reward than others who come after them. (Notice the different 
order of the statements in 19:30 in the Revised Version.) This is one 
point illustrated by the parable. Another is that the reward is of grace, not 
of merit. 

1. kingdom of heaven is like ... a householder] This parable is 
a graphic picture of eastern laboring life. The market-place by the gate is 
where all wishing employment would gather. The householder goes out to 
hire. The laborers are of the common class. 

The "penny" here is the Latin denarius, a Roman coin named in twelve 
passages in the New Testament as : " an hundred pence," Matt. 18 : 28 ; in this 
passage it is repeated four times ; the tribute money to Caesar was " a penny," 
Matt. 22 : 19 ; Mark 12 : 15 ; Luke 20 : 24 ; " two hundred pennyworth of 
bread," Mark 6 : 37 ; John 6:7; "five hundred pence," Luke 7 : 41 ; " two 
pence" to the host, Luke 10 : 35 ; "a penny," Rev. 6 : 6. The denarius was a 
silver coin worth about fifteen cents. It was a liberal pay for a day's 
labor, and the ordinary pay of a Roman soldier in those days. It was 
therefore not niggard, but fair and liberal wages for the work. He " agreed" 



Common Version. 

CHAP. XX.— For the kingdom of heaven 
is like unto a man that is a householder, 
which went out early in the morning to hire 
labourers into his vineyard. 
2 And when he had agreed with the labour- 



Revised Version. 

20 For the kingdom of heaven is like unto 

a man that was a householder, who went 

out early in the morning to hire labour- 

2 ers into his vineyard. And when he bad 



Matt. 20 : 3-10.] 



THE DISCIPLES' REWARD. 



195 



with them for a denarius a day. The " third hour" would be about 9 

o'clock A.M. 

4. Go ye also into the vineyard] Only with the first did he make any 
definite agreement. All the others went to work trusting the honor of the 
householder as to the amount of their pay. To those engaged at the " third 
hour" he promises simply to give what is "right," literally what is "just" 
or " righteous." But to those engaged at the sixth, ninth and eleventh hours 
not even this promise is formally made; for the last clause of v. 7 is a 
doubtful reading, and is omitted in the Revised Version. As the third hour 
was about 9 a.m., the sixth hour would be 12 m., the ninth hour, 3 p.m., and 
the eleventh hour, 5 p.m. The day's labor would end at sunset, or about 

6 P.M. 

6. Why stand ye here all the day idle ?] Whoever is not in the Lord's 
vineyard in some capacity is idle. Their answer is accepted as in a measure 
justifying them : " No man hath hired us." They knew not of any work. 
They had not heard of the Lord's vineyard, or of the need of work in it. 
This excuse might be a plea in a heathen, but not in a Christian, land. But 
the command to "go into the vineyard" often comes to persons in Christian 
lands late as well as early in life. Thus even this point has its application 
to those where the Church has been long established. 

8. beginning from the last] This order of the householder to the 
steward in regard to payment also points to the main teaching of the parable. 
The last were to be paid first. They were paid the same amount as the first 
agreed to receive. When the eleventh-hour laborers were paid a denarius, 
the morning-hour laborers thought they would get more. But they also 
received only a denarius. 



Common Version. 

ers for a penny a day, he sent them into his 
vineyard. 

3 And he went out about the third hour, 
and saw others standing idle in the market- 
place, 

4 And said unto them ; Go ye also into the 
vineyard, and whatsoever is right I will give 
you. And they went their way. 

5 Again he went out about the sixth and 
ninth hour, and did likewise. 

6 And about the eleventh hour he went 
out, and found others standing idle, and 
saith unto them, Why stand ye here all the 
day idle? 

7 They say unto him, Because no man 
hath hired us. He saith unto them, Go ye 
also into the vineyard ; and whatsoever is 
right, that shall ye receive. 

8 So when even was come, the lord of the 
vineyard saith unto his steward, Call the 
labourers, aud give them their hire, begin- 
ning from the last unto the first. 

9 And when they came that were hired 
about the eleventh hour, they received 
every man a penny. 

10 But when the first came, they supposed 
that they should have received more ; and 
they likewise received every man a penny. 



Revised Version. 

agreed with the labourers for a * shilling 
a day, he sent them into his vineyard. 

3 And he went out about the third hour, 
and saw others standing in the market- 

4 place idle; and to them he said, Go ye 
also into the vineyard, and whatsoever 
is right I will give you. And they went 

5 their way. Again he went out about the 
sixth and the ninth hour, and did like- 

6 wise. And about the eleventh hour he 
went out, and found others standing; 
and he saith unto them, Why stand ye 

7 here all the day idle? They say unto 
him, Because no man hath hired us. He 
saith unto them, Go ye also into the vine- 

8 yard. And when even was come, the lord 
of the vineyard saith unto his steward, 
Call the labourers, and pay them their 
hire, beginning from the last unto the 

9 first. And when they came that were 
hired about the eleventh hour, they re- 

10 ceived every man a a shilling. And when 
the first came, they supposed that they 
would receive more ; and they likewise 



1 See marginal note on cb. 18 : 28. 



\M 



A COMMENTARY ON THE GOSPEL OF MATTHEW. [Matt. 20:11-18. 



12. thou hast made them equal unto us] This is their grievance 
They could not say that he had not kept his agreement. They were envious 
because the last had spent only one hour, while they had wrought through the 
burning heat of the whole day. If these last have earned a denarius, surely 
we have earned something more, they would say. 

13. didst not thou agree with me] Again the point of the teaching 
comes out. Turning to the disciples he appears to say, You wanted to know 
just what you will have. Now see to what your spirit would bring you. 
These first laborers are to take their stipulated reward. Now learn that it 
is right for me to do what I will with my own. To one of the laborers the 
householder says, Are you envious because I am just? You consented to 
labor the whole day for a denarius. The others made no conditions. They 
trusted me to do what was right. The last had a spirit of devotion and trust 
in the Master, and no thought of a " smart bargain." 

10. many be called, but few chosen] This clause is omitted in the 
Revised Version here. The same words are found after the parable of the 
wedding garment, where they have a closer application. If they are retained 
here, they are difficult to harmonize with the drift of the parable, but may 
mean that this envious, mercenary spirit, though not excluding persons from 
the " called" in the kingdom, would keep them from becoming the " chosen," 
those few who are " greater" in the kingdom. In the parable of the wedding 
garment they must be differently interpreted. 

The Lessons. — The spiritual meaning and lessons of the parable chiefly 
turn on what is meant by the denarius. Some say it means — 1. Temporal 
reward. So Luther, Stier, Nast and Wordsworth hold. But the pay did 
not come until work in the vineyard was done, not until the end of life here. 
2. The denarius means eternal life. This was what the rich young man 
sought. It is the thought out of which the discourse on riches and this 
parable grew. It is the thought plainly stated in 19 : 28, 29, which intro- 
duces it. So Origen, Augustine, Meyer and most modern commentators 
understand of denarius. It is objected that eternal life is a gift of grace, not 
pay for service. But it is called " a reward " here, as in many other pas- 
sages : as, " great is your reward in heaven," 5 : 12. And there is a reward 



Common Version. 

11 And when they had received it, they 
murmured against the goodman of the 
house, 

12 Saying, These last have wrought but 
one hour, and thou hast made them equal 
unto us, which have borne the burden and 
heat of the day. 

13 But he answered one of them, and said, 
Friend, I do thee no wrong : didst not thou 
agree with me for a penny? 

14 Take that thine is, and go thy way : I 
will give unto this last, even as unto thee. 

15 Is it not lawful for me to do what I will 
with mine own? Is thine eye evil, because 
I am good ? 

16 So the la3t shall be first, and the first 
last: for many be called, but few chosen. 

i See marginal note on ch. 



Revised Version. 

11 received every man a J shilling. And 
when they received it, they murmured 

12 against the householder, saying, These 
last have spent but one hour, and thou 
hast made them equal unto us, who have 
borne the burden of the day and the 

13 2 scorching heat. But he answered and 
said to one of them, Friend, I do thee no 
wrong : didst not thou agree with me for a 

14 * shilling? Take up that which is thine, 
and go thy way; it is my will to give 

15 unto this last, even as unto thee. Is it 
not lawful for me to do what I will with 
mine own? or is thine eye evil, because I 

16 am good ? So the last shall be first, and 
the first last. 



18 : 28. 



8 Or, hot wind 



Matt. 20 : 17-19.] 



TRUE AND FALSE GREATNESS. 



197 



of grace as well as of merit, as Schaff aptly says. To sum up then : the 
householder represents God ; the steward, Christ ; the vineyard, the king- 
dom of God on earth ; the laborers represent those in the kingdom ; the 
denarius, their reward. The main teaching is — 1. That priority of entering 
service does not insure priority of reward. 2. The reward is not in pro- 
portion to the length of service. 3. Nor to the burdensome nature of that 
work. 4. Working expecting a reward for sacrifices and because of long 
service will place one last, not first, in the kingdom. 5. Entering at the 
last call, trusting the Master implicitly, may place one before those who 
entered first in a spirit which looked for so much pay for so much service. 
And lastly, 6. The highest reward is dependent on the will and grace of God. 

True and False Greatness, and Healing two Blind Men near 
Jericho, vs. 20 : 17-34. Mark 10 : 32-52 ; Luke 18 : 31-43. 

Analysis. — Jesus going to Jerusalem, v. 17 ; a third time foretells his death, 
vs. 18, 19 (see 16 : 21 ; 17 : 23) ; ambitious request of the mother of Zebedee's 
sons, vs. 20-23 ; envy of the ten, v. 24 ; reproof by Jesus, vs. 25-28 ; heal- 
ing two blind men, vs. 29-34. 

17. Jesus going" up to Jerusalem] All harmonists agree that this 
was the last journey of Jesus to Jerusalem. They do not agree upon the 
events preceding this. Some hold that between vs. 16 and 17 of this chapter 
the " abode beyond Jordan," the raising of Lazarus, and the retirement to 
the city of Ephraim occurred. John 10 : 40 to 11 : 54. Then followed a return 
to Persea, and next this journey to Jerusalem. Robinson places the raising 
of Lazarus earlier, between 18 : 35 and 19 : 1, and immediately after the 
feast of dedication, from which feast he supposes Jesus to have retired to 
Bethany beyond Jordan. John 10 : 22-42. 

18. they shall condemn him to death] Compare Mark 10 : 32-34 ; 
Luke 18 : 31-34. Jerusalem was to be the scene of his trial, suffering and 
death. He would be betrayed. By whom ? The rulers in the old Jewish 
Church, now effete and dying, would condemn and deliver him to the Gen- 
tiles; they would scourge and crucify him. Jew and Gentile would unite 
in this work of condemnation. The third day he shall rise again. All this 
seems clear to us, after the events. But how dark and unintelligible to the 
disciples ! They understood none of it. Luke 18 : 34. They had the Jewish 
view of the Messiah, as coming to set up an earthly kingdom. Peter's ques- 
tion, which led to the parable of the laborers, indicates this view. The 
request of the sons of Zebedee and their mother, which follows in vs. 20-23, 



Common Version. 

17 fl And Jesus going up to Jerusalem took 
the twelve disciples apart in the way, and 
said unto them, 

18 Behold, we go up to Jerusalem ; and the 
Son of man shall be betrayed unto the chief 
priests and unto the scribes, and they shall 
condemn him to death, 

19 And shall deliver him to the (lentiles 
to mock, and to scourge, and to crucify him : 
and the third day he shall rise again. 



Revised Version. 

17 And as Jesus was going up to Jeru- 
salem, he took the twelve disciples apart, 

18. and in the way he said unto them, Be- 
hold, we go up to Jerusalem ; and the Son 
of man shall be delivered unto the chief 

VJ priests and scribes ; and they shall con- 
demn him to death, and shall deliver him 
unto the Gentiles to mock, and to scourge, 
and to crucify : and the third day he shall 
be raised up. 



198 



A COMMENTARY ON THE GOSPEL OF MATTHEW. [Matt. 20 : 20-2a 



shows more clearly that they looked for a temporal reign, and wished to 
have the highest places as members of his cabinet or court. 

20. Then came to Mm] The mother of Zebedee's sons was Salome, 
as we may see by comparing 27 : 56 with Mark 15 : 40. Some believe she 
was the sister of Mary the mother of Jesus, and hence his aunt. She and 
her sons seem to have vaguely imagined that his prediction of rising had 
some reference to the setting up of a temporal rule. 

21. Grant that these my two sons] or " command." Priority of place 
is the aim. This throws light on the previous parable. The right hand and 
the left hand of the king were the highest places of honor. If James and 
John were granted these places, the other ten must be content with second- 
rate positions. The sons evidently joined in the request. See v. 23. 

23. Ye shall drink indeed of my cup] See Kevised Version. They 
must share in his sufferings. James was the first martyr in fact, and John 
was a martyr in spirit, and suffered banishment to Patmos. In allusion to 
the question "drink of the cup," there is an apocryphal story that John 
drank off a whole cup of poison without harm ; and Tertullian has a legend 
that the same apostle was thrown into boiling oil, but was refreshed by the 
bath and miraculously saved from death. The clause "and be baptized 
with the baptism that I am baptized with," and the corresponding clause in 
v. 22, are omitted in some critical editions of the text and in the Revised 
Version. Similar words are found in Mark 10 : 38, 39, where there is no 
question about their genuineness. The crucifixion was the baptism to which 
Jesus there referred, — a baptism of suffering. 

is not mine to give] This remark of Jesus has been variously under- 
stood. 1. It is not mine to give except to those for whom it hath been pre- 
pared, etc. So Chrysostom, Grotius and Alford hold. But this is not in 
accord with the grammatical construction, nor with the obvious meaning of 
the Greek connective aXha, alia, " but." 2. Not mine as man to give. So 
Augustine, and, substantially, Bengel. But Christ is the founder, and will 
be final Judge in the kingdom. 3. It is not mine to give, but is for them 
for whom it is prepared. That is, it will be given not arbitrarily, but upon 
conditions already fixed, — those eternal conditions of right and righteousness 



Common Version. 

20 f Then came to him the mother of Zeb- 
edee's children with her sons, worshipping 
him, and desiring a certain thing of him. 

21 And he said unto her, What wilt thou? 
She saith unto him, Grant that these my 
two sons may sit, the one on thy right hand, 
and the other on the left, in thy kingdom. 

22 But Jesus answered and said, Ye know 
not what ye ask. Are ye able to drink of 
the cup that I shall drink of, and to be bap- 
tized with the baptism that I am baptized 
with? They say unto him, We are able. 

23 And he saith unto them, Ye shall drink 
indeed of my cup, and be baptized with the 
baptism that I am baptized with: but to sit, 
on my right hand, and on my left, is not 
mine to give, but it shall be given to them for 
whom it is prepared of my Father. 



Revised Version. 

20 Then came to him the mother of the 
sons of Zebedee with her sons, worship- 
ping him, and asking a certain thing of 

21 him. And he said unto her, What would- 
est thou? She saith unto him, Command 
that, these my two sons may sit, one on 
thy right hand, and one on thy left hand, 

22 in thy kingdom. But Jesus answered and 
said, Ye know not what ye ask. Are ye 
able to drink the cup that I am about to 
drink ? They say unto him, We are able. 

23 He saith unto them ? My cup indeed ye 
shall drink : but to sit on my right hanp\ 
and on my left hand, is not mine to give, 
but it is for them for whom it hath Been 




elisha's fountain: site of o. t. jericho. {From a Photograph.) 




site of modern JERICHO. (From a Photograph.) 

The N T . T. Jericho was probably West of this, and toward the O. T. Jericho. 



Matt. 20 : 24-30.] 



TRUE AND FALSE GREATNESS. 



199 



long ago settled by my Father. It is for those who have the Christ-like spirit 
and character. The answer was understood to be a present denial, but pos- 
sibly hinting at something in the future. Hence arose the envious feeling 
of the ten. We are surprised to see John, the "divine apostle," in this 
plot ! Theirs was not holy indignation, but low envy. 

26. let him be your minister] or, literally, "your bond-servant." 
Notice the clearer reading of the Revised Version in vs. 25-28, which 
removes the need of further comment. Disciples are to imitate their 
Master in serving others, not striving to become grandees, to be waited upon. 
Unholy ambition for the highest place has no place, not even the lowest, in 
his kingdom. We are to give ourselves for others, not expect others will 
give up the best for us. 



Healing Two Blind Men near Jericho. 

29. as they departed [went out] from Jericho] Jesus was on his 
way from beyond Jordan to Jerusalem. He would join the vast caravan 
going up to the passover. The way from Jericho to Jerusalem was danger- 
ous. Robberies were common on that road. Jericho has occupied more 
than one site. 1. Jericho of the Old Testament, destroyed by Joshua, was 
near the spring called " Elisha's Fountain." This is about a mile and a 
half northwest of the modern hamlet Eriha. 2. Jericho of the Gospels is 
identified by the Palestine Survey with El Aleik, about a mile and a half west of 
Eriha, and the same distance west of south of " Elisha's Fountain." 3. Jericho 
of the Crusading period is identified with Eriha, a wretched mud hamlet sur- 
rounded by a thorny briar, known as the Christ thorn. See Schaff's Diction- 
ary of the Bible. The Jericho of Christ's time was again a " city of palms." 
It had been beautified by Herod the Great with palaces and public buildings. 
It was restored by Archelaus, and was surrounded by a plain of great fer- 
tility. It was about five miles from the Jordan, but in the valley. 

30. behold, two blind men sitting by the way side] Mark and Luke 



Common Version. 

24 And when the ten heard it, they were 
moved with indignation against the two 
brethren. 

25 But Jesus called them unto him, and 
said, Ye know that the princes of the Gen- 
tiles exercise dominion over them, and they 
that are great exercise authority upon them. 

26 But it shall not be so among you : but 
whosoever will be great among you, let him 
be your minister; 

27 And whosoever will be chief among 
you, let him be your servant: 

28 Even as the Son of man came not to be 
ministered unto, but to minister, and to give 
his life a ransom for many. 

29 And as they departed from Jericho, a 
great multitude followed him. 

30 % And, behold, two blind men sitting 
by the way Bide, when they heard that Jesus 
passed by, cried out, saying, Have mercy on 
us, O Lord, thou Son of David. 

1 Or, servant 



Revised Version. 

24 prepared of my Father. And when the 
ten heard it, they were moved with indig- 

25 nation concerning the two brethren. But 
Jesus called them unto him, and said, Ye 
know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord 
it over them, and their great ones exer- 

26 cise authority over them. Not so shall 
it be among you: but whosoever would 
become great among you shall be your 

27 l minister; and whosoever would be first 

28 among you shall he your - servant: even 
as the Son of man came not to be minis- 
tered unto, but to minister, and to give 
his life a ransom for many. 

29 And as they went out from Jericho, a 

30 great multitude followed him. And be- 
hold, two Mind men sitting by the way 
Bide, when they heard that Jesus was 
passing by, cried out, saying, Lord, ha>o 



2 Gr. bondservant. 



200 



A COMMENTARY ON THE GOSPEL OF MATTHEW. [Matt. 20 : 31-34 



mention only one. Mark gives his name — Bartimseus, son of Timseus. It is 
wholly unnecessary to assume contradiction here because Matthew speaks of 
two, while Mark and Luke mention only one. If there were two, then surely 
there was one healed. The chief difficulty is that Matthew and Mark place the 
healing as Jesus went out from Jericho, while from Luke it appears to have 
occurred as he came to the city. Some commentators regard the differences 
too great to harmonize. So Meyer, De Wette, Alford and Plumptre hold, 
and make very questionable suggestions which weaken the authority of the 
gospel writers in this instance. Norton, Olshausen and others deem the dif- 
ference unimportant. Of the ten or twelve prominent ways of accounting 
for these differences, the most satisfactory are — 1. That one blind man 
cried to Jesus as he entered the city, but was not healed until Jesus went 
from the city, when the blind man was joined by a companion. Luke records 
the healing as connected with the request made when Jesus entered the city. 
2. That Jesus remained some days at Jericho. See' Mark, " they came to 
Jericho." Jesus would naturally visit " Elisha's Fountain " and other places 
near the city. Luke connects the healing in a general way with their arri- 
val; Matthew and Mark more precisely with some "going out" during the 
stay ; and Luke 19 : 1 refers to the final departure. For other solutions, see 
my Commentary on Mark. 

31. Have mercy on US] Rebuked by the crowd, the poor blind men 
cried out the more. So blind men do now in that very region. If there is 
any possibility of alms or any kind of help, the more you try to keep them 
quiet the louder and more urgent will their entreaties become. The cry of 
the blind at Jericho has become the cry of the Christian world. It has gone 
into the litany of the Church, " Lord, have mercy on us." 

34. touched their eyes] Though Mark's account is in the main the 
fullest in detail, Matthew alone mentions this. How tender, compassionate 
and marvellous the touch of Jesus ! Who that is spiritually blind could fail 
to imitate the blind men at Jericho in their cry, if thus they might realize 
the gentle, compassionate, creating touch that would give them spiritual 
sight? And how could they fail to follow Jesus, glorifying God? 

Blind in Syria. — The number of the blind in Syria, as in nearly all 
Asiatic communities, is so great as to form a conspicuous element in Oriental 
life. Those who have become familiar with the multitudes of these unfor- 
tunate persons in that land have not the least difficulty in accepting the 
accounts of the healing of the blind at Jericho. 



Common Version. 

31 And the multitude rebuked them, be- 
cause they should hold their peace: but 
they cried the more, saying, Have mercy on 
us, O Lord, thou Son of David. 

32 And Jesus stood still, and called them, 
and said, What will ye that I shall do unto 
you? 

33 They say unto him, Lord, that our eyes 
mav be opened. 

:;4 So Jesus had compassion on them, and 
touched their eyes: and immediately their 
eyes received sight, and they followed him. 



Revised Version. 

31 mercy on us, thou son of David. And 
the multitude rebuked them, that they 
should hold their peace: but they cried 
out the more, saying, Lord, have mercy 

32 on us, thou son of David. And Jesus 
stood still, and called them, and said, 
What will ye that I should do unto you? 

33 They say unto him, Lord, that our eyes 

34 may be opened. And Jesus, being moved 
with compassion, touched their eyes : and 
straightway they received their sight, and 
followed him. 



Matt. 20.] HEALING TWO BLIND MEN NEAR JERICHO. 201 

" At the gate of every Oriental town," says Prof. Post of Beirut, " and on 
the principal roads leading to it and through it, are always seated blind and 
lame beggars, who gain their living from travellers. They grope their way 
through the crowded thoroughfares guided by their staff. They are by every 
roadside, calling down blessings on passers-by. They do everything but work. 
There is no one to teach them any useful calling." " So familiar is this sight 
of a blind man by the wayside in sunny Syria that it excites no remark. You 
see him begging at every wayside turn. Many sing to attract notice and to 
stir the pity of the charitable. They do not always ask directly for alms ; 
they exclaim, May God bless you ! and look for a gift." If the passer-by is 
known to be rich, he is asked directly for a gift. If he is supposed to be a 
doctor, or hakeem, healer, piteously will the blind cry for his aid. 

In view of the multitudes of blind persons now in Syria, as of olden times, 
a healer like Jesus would be quite sure to find one blind on one side of the 
way, and a few steps further two on the other side, when he entered Jer- 
icho, and several as he went out. Mark fixes his attention on the one whose 
name he knew ; the other evangelists report the healing, but not the names 
of the blind whose sight was restored. You can put the three accounts 
together; and if there were three or five blind persons, the number would be 
found in any fair-sized town of Syria to-day, either upon entering or depart- 
ing from it. 

Old Jericho, the Jericho of Herod and of New Testament times, and the 
city known to the Crusaders, were all on the table land near the foot of the 
mountains. The city that Jesus visited was possibly near the banks of the 
Kelt, where crumbling aqueducts, lines of foundations and arches indicate a 
town. But the palace and hippodrome of Herod have disappeared, perhaps 
covered under some of the several mounds lying about, and containing rich 
antiquities which the spade alone can reveal. The road along the Kelt, 
over which Jesus must have»journeyed, was then no doubt a fine avenue of 
sycamores, palms and balsams. There are some sycamores now in the ravines. 
There are groves of thorny shrubs, the thorny balsam, and the sisyphus, 
Christ-thorn | and the plain, though desolate, has its charms in the running 
water and singing birds. The great kingfishers, some blue with white throats, 
flutter over the stream, and the sun-birds dart about like little black wrens. 
These enable us to imagine the natural scenery as it appeared to the eyes of 
Jesus and his disciples. 

The city was large and populous, multitudes of priests making it their 
home, as we know from Josephus. The blind beggars no doubt thronged 
every approach to the town, as they do now about every Syrian city. 

Suggestive Applications. — I. God often gives us intimations of coming 
sorrow and trial, but our hearts are too dull to perceive them. 2. Parents 
may desire the highest worldly positions for their children, from pride or 
ignorance. 3. Ambitions and envious feelings may creep into Christian 
hearts. 4. Service, not being served, is the lot of a true Christian. 5. 
Greatness comes from imitating Christ in humility. 6. The blind are wise 
in crying to Jesus for help. 7. The touch of Christ gives sight. 



202 A COMMENTARY ON THE GOSPEL OF MATTHEW. [Matt. 20. 

CHAPe XXI. The Kingly Entry and the Children's Welcome, vs. 
1-17. Mark 11 : 1-18 ; Luke 19 : 29-46 ; John 12 : 12-19. 

Jerusalem, a.d. 30. Palm Sunday. 

Analysis. — Two disciples are sent for an ass and its colt, vs. 1-3 ; proph- 
ecy fulfilled, vs. 4-6; joy of the multitude, vs. 6-11; the temple cleansed a 
second time, vs. 12-14 ; joy of the children, vs. 15, 16. 

Last Journey to Jerusalem. — After the raising of Lazarus narrated by 
John, Jesus again retired into Persea, where he spent the latter part of the 
winter in the quieter regions less disturbed by Jewish rulers. From thence 
he joined the annual crowd of pilgrims to the great Jewish feast, the pass- 
over, at Jerusalem, in the early spring. 

The following description of the route is given me by Mr. John Tannous 
Haddad, a native Syrian, familiar with the region, who has been many times 
over the road : 

Jesus went up to Jerusalem across the Jordan by way of Jericho, and up 
the steep ascent about 3700 feet in 15 to 18 miles. The modern route is from 
Es-Salt southwest to a ford of the Jordan, passing up from the river over a 
sandy flat with some shrubs mixed with nebbuk, popularly called Christ's 
thorn. In a mile or two the road ascends the second table, and runs along 
this beach to the southwest for about five miles. In spring this part of the 
road is beautiful with young grain and wild flowers. Near Jericho the road 
ascends to a third table land on which is Er-Riha, near which was Jericho 
of the Gospels. The great spring Ain es-Sultan is about a mile northwest 
from Er-Riha, by which the ancient city was supplied with water. The 
route is now, as 3000 years ago, up the dark ravine of the wady Kelt, prob- 
ably the " brook Cherith," 1 Kings 17 : 3, 5. This brook has water the 
greater part of the year. The scenery is wild, the gorges deep and wind- 
ing ; deeper ravines putting out here and there in bewildering fashion, sug- 
gestive of brigands, robbers and wild beasts. 

From Jericho the road now goes along the plain west, then ascends south- 
west up a rocky, rough ascent for an hour, when it grows narrower, the hills 
on either side steeper and higher, where the caves and robbers were found in 
Herod's time, and the road is still dangerous. Higher up is the ruin of a 
khan tradition calls the Samaritan's inn. Then the valley of the Kelt widens, 
and the road crosses to the south side of the stream (no bridge) and follows 
up the valley for an hour and a half. Then the traveller comes to an open 
space, with hills on the left. Then the road curves to the north, first level, 
then descends a little and ascends to the northwest, and in fifteen minutes 
one reaches Bethany. 

The views on this road are noted for their magnificence. Above Er-Riha 
the entire valley with the Jordan lies below. To the south stretches the 
Dead Sea with its cliffs ; the eye takes in the view far across the plains to the 
mountains of Moab. From the top the view widens to the north and to 



Matt. 21.] THE KINGLY ENTRY AND THE CHILDREN'S WELCOME. 203 



the east, stretching away over the tops of the mountains, even beyond the 
Jordan ; but the rest of the road is rough, hard, and the traveller feels as 
if he were enclosed in frowning cliffs or between the dark walls of a prison. 
The road is usually hot, close, with an occasional breeze after the middle of 
the day. 

The site of Bethany was near the modern El-Azariyeh, " the Lazarus," on 
the southeastern slope of Mount Olivet. It is a cultivated spot, having fine 
grain fields, and some fig, olive, almond and carob trees. There are three 
routes from Bethany to Jerusalem. The most frequently travelled route by 
natives is the one that bends around to the southward, and reaches the 
Kedron valley after passing the Latin Gethsemane. 

Order of Events. — There is some difficulty in ascertaining the order of 
events during this passover week. The following order is accepted by the 
best harmonists. The healing of the blind men at Jericho was followed by 
the visit to Zacchseus, and the parable of the ten mince, or pounds. The 
Jewish days are reckoned from sunset to sunset. For example, Friday would 
begin on Thursday night at sunset and end Friday night at sunset. 

1. Friday, 8th Nisan (March 31), a.u.c. 783 and a.d. 30. Jesus goes 
from Jericho to Bethany. 2. Saturday, 9th Nisan (April 1), Jewish Sabbath. 
Jesus rests at Bethany. 3. Sunday, 10th Nisan (April 2). The supper and 
anointing at Bethany on Saturday night after sunset; hence after the Jewish 
Sabbath was past ; the conspiracy of the chief priests. John 11 : 55 to 12 : 11 ; 
Matt. 26 : 6-13 ; Mark 14 : 3-9. The kingly entry into Jerusalem, on so- 
called Palm Sunday. Return to Bethany for the night. 4. Monday, 11th 
Nisan (April 3). Jesus goes to Jerusalem early in the morning ; barren fig 
tree cursed ; the temple cleansed the second time ; the blind and lame healed ; 
the children cry Hosanna. 5. Tuesday, 12th Nisan (April 4). Returns to 
Jerusalem ; the withered fig tree noticed by the disciples ; Christ's authority 
questioned ; question about John's baptism ; parables : two sons, wicked 
husbandmen, king's son ; questions about tribute to Caesar ? resurrection ? 
chief commandment ? the widow's mite ; the Greeks ; the foretelling of com- 
ing events; parables: ten virgins, five talents, and other teachings; returns 
to Bethany. 6. Wednesday, 13th Nisan (April 5). Conspiracy of rulers and 
bargain with Judas (made on Tuesday night after sunset) ; Jesus appears to 
have spent the day in retirement at Bethany. 7. Thursday, 14th Nisan 
(April 6). Jesus sends two disciples to Jerusalem to prepare the passover 
supper ; goes to the city in the afternoon ; the supper was eaten at 
night. 8. Friday, 15th Nisan (April 7). [Some of the events under this day 
took place after sunset Thursday.] The passover meal in the upper room ; 
the Lord's Supper instituted ; discourse, John 14 to 17. In the night, after 
Thursday : in Gethsemane ; betrayal and arrest (near midnight) ; brought 
before Annas; then Caiaphas; before Pilate; before Herod; again before 
Pilate; is condemned and crucified (before noon); laid in the sepulchre 
before sunset. 9. Saturday, 16th Nisan (April 8). Jewish Sabbath — day of 
rest. 10. Sunday, 17th Nisan (April 9, Jewish first day of the week). Early 
in the morning Jesus rises from the dead ; visit of the women and of the 



204 A COMMENTARY ON THE GOSPEL OF MATTHEW. [Matt. 21 : 1. 

two disciples at the sepulchre ; Jesus appears to Mary Magdalene ; to two 
going Emmaus ; to Peter ; to the ten. 

The chief points of difficulty are the time of the anointing and supper at 
Bethany, and of the passover meal. Matthew and Mark mention the anoint- 
ing in connection with the conspiracy of the priests and the treachery 
of Judas. John places it following Jesus' arrival from Jericho. Some 
therefore hold that (1) John mentions it by anticipation, hence that it was 
on Tuesday or Wednesday night. So Newcome, Robinson in his later edition, 
Da Costa, Owen, Geikie. (2) Others place it on Saturday night {after sunset), 
and hence after the Jewish Sabbath had ended. So Alford, Andrews, 
Edersheim, Ellicott, Eobinson in his earlier edition. See Riddle's Robin- 
son's Greek and English Harmonies, and others. As Matthew and Mark make 
a less definite note of time here than John, the apparent difference is easily ex- 
plained by accepting John's order, and noticing that the other evangelists 
mention the anointing by the law of mental association in connection with 
the treachery of Judas. There is no ground for supposing with Lightfoot 
that there were two anointings at Bethany within a few days. 

The time of the passover meal will be noticed in 26 : 17-35. For more 
full statement of various views see my Commentary on Mark, pp. 160, 161. 

1, come to Bethphagre] And when they drew near to Jerusalem and 
had come to Bethphage, to the mount of Olives, says Matthew ; and Mark 
and Luke add "to Bethphage and Bethany." From these accounts we learn 
that Bethphage and Bethany were near each other, and that both were 
on the Mount of Olives, and near Jerusalem. Bethany we know was 
scarcely two miles from Jerusalem, on the road to Jericho. It was situated 
just over the shoulder of Olivet, on its eastern slope. It is now represented 
by twenty rude stone houses. The water is good, and olive, fig, almond and 
carob trees abound. The reputed site of Simon's house and that of Mary's, 
and of the tomb of Lazarus under a church, are pointed out now, but are 
scarcely trustworthy. The site of Bethphage is unknown. From the order 
in which it is named by Mark and Luke in the journey from Jericho to 
Jerusalem, it might be inferred that it was nearer to Jericho than Bethany. 
Some, however, place it west rather than east of Bethany. So Alford and 
Greswell infer. The latter places Bethphage on the road, and Bethany a 
little to one side, off the direct route. Farrar places Bethphage a little 
south of Bethany. So also Geikie seems to place Bethany off the direct route. 

Jesus made this kingly entry because he was a king. In this act he re- 
veals himself to his people in that royal yet simple majesty which is char- 
acteristic of all his earthly doings. Nor is it inconsistent with this to sup- 
pose that in thus entering the holy city, he had some consideration for the 
great expectations and the human weaknesses of his followers, Avho were 
looking upon him as the Messiah who might deliver Israel, Luke 24:21. 



Common Version. 

CHAP. XXL— And when they drew nigh 
unto Jerusalem, and were come to 
Bethphage, unto the mount of Olives, then 
sent Jesus two disciples, 



Revised Version. 

21 And when they drew nigh unto Jeru- 
salem, and came unto Bethphage, unto 
the mount of Olives, then Jesus sent two 



Matt. 21:2-7.] THE KINGLY ENTRY AND THE CHILDREN'S WELCOME. 205 



The entry, in the peculiar manner it was made, would restrain present im- 
petuousness on the part of his disciples, and teach them to see the true 
character of his kingly authority, in the near future. 

2. Go • • • into the village over against you] What village this 
was, neither evangelist tells us. It is natural to infer that the company 
left Bethany on foot, and approached Bethphage on the most southerly of 
the three routes to Jerusalem over Olivet. Then Jesus directed two dis- 
ciples to go into Bethphage just before them, and get the ass and her colt. 
The description of the place where the animals would be found was very 
minute. See especially Mark 11 : 4, " They found the colt tied at the door 
without in the open street" (Revised Version), an unusual place; for beasts 
were usually led within the house or court and tied there. No man had ridden 
the colt. A king must not ride another's beast. It is not as formidable a 
thing to ride such a colt as it would be to ride an unbroken colt with us. 
Animals that had never been worked were put to sacred uses. Num. 19 : 2; 
Deut. 21 : 3; 1 Sam. 6: 7. The eastern ass was highly esteemed. The white 
variety was among the royal beasts in some courts. As the horse was a 
beast from Egypt and a symbol of war, this animal was the Jewish national 
beast and a symbol of peace. If the owner or those in charge of the 
animals objected to let them go, the disciples were to say, " The Lord hath 
need of them," and permission would at once be granted. This implies 
that the owner was a disciple ; for the language is against the supposition 
that the animals were hired. 

4. that it might be fulfilled] Again Matthew points to the fulfillment 
of prophecy proving that Jesus was the Messiah. The citation is freely 
from two prophecies, Isa. 62 : 11 and Zech. 9 : 9. These many instances of 
the minute fulfillment of prophecies, some of which were not familiar to 
the common people, would be recognized as soon as they were pointed 
out. They could not be mere chance coincidences. They must be a de- 
signed fulfillment. This prophecy, like several others, was too obscure for 
an impostor to have copied out and planned to fulfill. Only one who was 
the true Messiah could have so exactly met these conditions. 

7. put on them their clothes] or "garments." This is a characteris- 



Common Version. 

2 Saying unto them, Go into the village 
over against you, and straightway ye shall 
find an ass tied, and a colt with her: loose 
them, and hring them unto me. 

3 And if any man say aught unto you, ye 
shall say, The Lord hath need of them ; and 
straightway he will send them. 

4 All this was done, that it might be ful- 
filled which was spoken by the prophet, 
saying. 

5 Tell ye the daughter of Sion, Behold, thy 
King cometh unto thee, meek, and sitting 
upon an ass, and a colt the foal of an ass. 

6 And the disciples went, and did as Jesus 
commanded them, 

7 And brought the ass, and the colt, and 
put on them their clothes, and they set him 
thereon. 



Revised Version. 

2 disciples, saying unto them, Go into the 
village that is over against you, and 
straightway ye shall find an ass tied, 
and a colt with her : loose them, and bring 

3 them unto me. And if any one say aught 
unto you, ye shall say, The Lord hath 
need of them ; and straightway he will 

4 send them. Now this is come to pass, 
that it might be fulfilled which was 
spoken through the prophet, saying, 

5 Tell ye the daughter of Zion, 
Behold, thy King cometh unto thee, 
Meek, and riding upon an ass, 
And upon a colt the foal of an ass. 

6 And the disciples went, and did even as 

7 Jesus appointed them, and brought the 
ass, and the colt, and put on them their 



206 A COMMENTARY ON THE GOSPEL OF MATTHEW. [Matt. 21 : 8-12. 

tic eastern scene. Bringing the colt, the disciples throw their abbas or outer 
cloaks upon the animal. Jesus sat upon the colt. Some disciple led the 
animal. At once, in the enthusiasm of the crowd which would be coming 
along the main route that passed Bethphage, the people spread their abbas and 
outer garments in the way to honor the great Galilean prophet and healer. 
Others cut green branches from the trees to aid in carpeting the road before the 
Master and Lord. This is still a customary way to welcome any great per- 
son in the East. Kobinson says that the people of Bethlehem threw their 
garments under the feet of the horses when the English consul entered their 
city. Dr. Post notes an instance of the people spreading themselves in the 
way when a great Moslem sheikh entered a town. 

9. cried, saying, Hosanna] This was no political cry. It is evident 
that those who started it began to have some idea of the spiritual character 
of the King and kingdom. Therefore, it was now time for Jesus to permit 
a public recognition of his power and character as king. The great crowd 
going before him, and the scarcely less crowd that followed, shouted in an- 
swering joy to each other from the great Hallel, Ps. 113-118, Hosanna, save, 
we pray. Later, the " children," the " boys," in the temple made the same 
joyful cry. See v. 16. 

10. when he was come into Jerusalem] This grand and joyous pro- 
cession probably wended its way down Olivet by the southerly route. Tra- 
dition makes our Lord to have crossed the very summit of the mount, and 
marks a spot about half way down its western slope, where the procession 
halted while Jesus wept over the city. The tradition is not generally ac- 
cepted, and the southern route, still the easier and main one, is the more 
probable one. They passed nigh Gethsemane, crossed the brook Kedron, 
and entered the city by what is now " St. Stephen's " gate. It was the pass- 
over. The city was crowded. It was equally full of religious fervor. No 
wonder all the city was stirred. Who comes ? The famous prophet of Gali- 
lee. All the multitude make way, for they honor this wonderful person. 

12. Jesus went into the temple] This second cleansing of the temple 
is usually placed on the next day after the triumphal entry. On the day of 



Common Version. 



8 And a very great multitude spread their 
garments in the way; others cut down 
branches from the trees, and strewed them 
in the way. 

9 And the multitudes that went before, 
and that followed, cried, saying, Hosanna to 
the Son of David : Blessed is he that cometh 
in the name of the Lord; Hosanna in the 
highest. 

10 And when he was come into Jerusalem, 
all the city was moved, saying, Who is this ? 

11 And the multitude said, This is Jesus 
the prophet of Nazareth of Galilee. 

12 f And Jesus went into the temple of 
God, and cast out all them that sold and 
bought in the temple, and overthrew the 
tables of the money changers, and the seats 
of them that sold doves, 

i Many ancient authorities omit of Ood. 



Revised Version. 



8 garments ; and he sat thereon. And the 
most part of the multitude spread their 
garments in the way; and others cut 
branches from the trees, and spread them 

9 in the way. And the multitudes that went 
before him, and that followed, cried, say- 
ing, Hosanna to the Son of David : Blessed 
is he that cometh in the name of the Lord ; 

10 Hosanna in the highest. And when he 
was come into Jerusalem, all the city was 

11 stirred, saying, Who is this? And the 
multitudes said, This is the prophet, Je- 
sus, from Nazareth of Galilee. 

12 And Jesus entered into the temple l of 
God, and cast out all them that sold and 
bought in the temple, and overthrew the 
tables of the money-changers, and the 



Matt. 21 : 13-15.] THE KINGLY ENTRY AND THE CHILDREN'S WELCOME. 207 



the entry, he looked about the temple and returned to Bethany for the night. 
See Mark 11 : 11-17. In the morning lie returned to the city and drove out 
the traders. 

seats of them that sold doves] If Jesus were to visit the reputed Church 
of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem now, he would find in its outer court 
traders very similar to those in the temple at his entry into Jerusalem. This 
court is now filled with sellers of rosaries, relics, and pictures of saints 
and sacred places. Jesus drove the traders from God's temple. He as- 
serted his right to reclaim his Father's house. For his authority he referred 
the priests to Isa. 56: 7 and Jer. 7:11. This was in fulfillment of proph- 
ecy. The trading was in the " court of the Gentiles." 

They had made it a " den of robbers" by extortionate charges in exchanging 
money and in selling animals for sacrifice. It was not convenient for those 
offering sacrifices to bring the doves, sheep and animals with them ; so, 
after the captivity, a court of the temple was assigned as a place where these 
might be kept for sale. Then those Jews who resided in other lands brought 
with them money of Gentile coinage which could not be received into the 
temple treasury. It must be changed for coin that could be paid into the 
temple. This the money-changers did, often at heavy charges. But more 
especially had they robbed the Gentiles by turning the place appointed for 
them as a place of prayer into a market for beasts and a place for money- 
changers and general temple traffic. Similar cheating and rapacity are yet 
found in holy places of the East. Dr. Post says that on a visit to Jerusalem 
he was charged six per cent, by the money-changers for simply changing the 
current coin. At the same visit he heard the priests sell at auction the priv- 
ilege of the first place in the resurrection procession, which takes place on 
Easter day. The buyer paid sixty napoleons ; the priests crying out, " Who 
will give that which is temporal for that which is eternal?" For a de- 
scription of the temple, see note at the end of this chapter. 

14. the blind and the lame, . . . and he healed them] The selfish 
traders expelled, the infirm and blind enter the temple courts. The " house 
of prayer," purged of the profane robbers, now becomes a " house of mercy." 

15. the children crying] On the entry to Jerusalem the disciples 
and the multitudes make this shout of rejoicing. Here the " children," liter- 
ally the " boys " (for the Greek word is masculine), in the temple take up 
and re-echo the joyful shout. The chief priests and scribes were very in- 
dignant. They appeal to Jesus. He answers their anger by an appeal to 



Common Version. 

13 And said unto them, It is written, My 
house shall be called the house of prayer ; 
but ye have made it a den of thieves. 

14 And the blind and the lame came to 
him in the temple ; and he healed them. 

15 And when the chief priests and scribes 
saw the wonderful things that he did, and 
the children crying in the temple, and say- 
ing, Hosanna to the Son of David ; they 
were sore displeased, 



Revised Version. 

13 seats of them that sold the doves; and 
he saith unto them, It is written, My 
house shall be called a house of prayer : 

14 but ye make it a den of robbers. And 
the blind and the lame came to him in 

15 the temple: and he healed them. But 
when the chief priests and the scribes 
saw the wonderful things that he did, 
and the children that were crying in the 
temple and saying, Hosanna to the son 
of David; they were moved with indig* 



208 A COMMENTARY ON THE GOSPEL OF MATTHEW. [Matt. 21 : 1G-19. 

prophecy, Ps. 8 : 2, which they could not misunderstand. The Messianic 
bearing was too plain. Night coming on, Jesus retires to Bethany. The 
chief priests and scribes retire to consider how this popular leader can be 
arrested. 

Suggestive Applications. — 1. Christ is the world's true King. 2. Some 
acknowledge him, some welcome him ; others reject and hate him and his 
coming. 3. He came not as a warlike conqueror, but as the prince of peace. 
4. He will come by and by as a majestic and awful conqueror. 5. He as- 
serts his majesty in his Father's house. 6. He turns a house of robbers into 
a house of prayer and mercy. 7. The " children " welcome the Lord into 
his temple. 8. The worldly and the hypocritical sneer or are angry at true 
reformers. 9. Holiness should fill God's house and our hearts. 10. " May 
God in mercy protect us from such theologians and priests as are offended 
by children and their harmless songs." — Heubner. 11. Let children be 
trained to sing God's praises in the sanctuary. 

The Barren Fig Tree and Unbelief, vs. 18-32. Mark 11 : 12-33 

Jerusalem, Monday and Tuesday, April 3 and 4, a.d. 30. 

Analysis. — The barren fig tree condemned, vs. 18-20 ; a lesson on faith, 
vs. 21, 22 ; Christ's authority questioned, v. 23 ; question about John's bap- 
tism, vs. 24-27 ; parable of the two sons, vs. 28-32. 

18. in the morning] Turning to Mark, we find that the barren tree 
was seen, fruit sought and the tree condemned one morning (Monday), and 
the disciples noticed that it withered on the next morning (Tuesday). 
Matthew relates the incident and the conversation that grew out of it to- 
gether. He omits to speak of the incidents that intervened, and to make a 
definite note of time. But an omission is not an error, nor does it contradict 
the account of Mark. The fig tree was condemned before the second cleans- 
ing of the temple. Matthew narrates this act, and the entry, with the ho- 
sannas of the children, together, but does not say nor imply that they occurred 
in that order. 

19. saw a fig tree] He saw " one tree," or " a single tree," as in the 
margins of the Common Version and Revised Version. Matthew says he 
saw it "in the way;" Mark, that "seeing" it "afar off," literally "from a 



Common Version. 

16 And said unto him, Hearest thou what 
these say? And Jesus saith unto them, 
Yea; have ye never read, Out of the mouth 
of babes and sucklings thou hast perfected 
praise? 

17 If And he left them, and went out of the 
city into Bethany ; and he lodged there. 

18 Now in the morning, as he returned 
into the city, he hungered. 

19 And when he saw a fig tree in the way, 
he came to it, and found nothing thereon, 
but leaves only, and said unto it, Let no 
fruit grow on thee henceforward for ever. 
And presently the fig tree withered away. 



Revised Version. 

16 nation, and said unto him, Hearest thou 
what these are saying? And Jesus saith 
unto them, Yea: did ye never read, Out 
of the mouth of babes and sucklings thou 

17 hast perfected praise ? And he left them, 
and went forth out of the city to Beth- 
any, and lodged there. 

18 Now in the morning as he returned to 

19 the city, he hungered. And seeing J a 
fig tree by the way side, he came to it, 
and found nothing thereon, but leaves 
only ; and he saith unto it, Let there be 
no fruit from thee henceforward for ever. 
And immediately the fig tree withered 



1 Or, a single 



Matt. 21. J THE BARREN FIG TREE AND UNBELIEF. 209 



distance" or "from a space." The accounts are consistent with each other. 
Jesus might have seen the tree try the wayside before them in the distance ; 
then he "came" to it. Being by the way, it was lawful to pick the fruit, es- 
pecially to satisfy hunger. Deut. 23 : 24. This need not imply that it was the 
only fig tree along the way ; there may have been many, since Bethphage 
means " house of unripe figs." But there was one that would attract the special 
attention of a hungry person seeking figs ; for it had leaves. And as the 
fruit appears on the fig tree before the leaves, one would naturally expect to 
find fruit on such a tree. It is needless (1) to make a difficulty about con- 
demning an inanimate object. The act did not imply any idea of moral 
character in the tree, but was intended to teach the disciples an impressive 
religious lesson. The tree was a proper and fitting object for this purpose. 
It might be called a significant example of object teaching. It is needless 
(2) to speculate how Jesus, having divine wisdom, should have sought fruit 
where there was none. As the Son of man, his acts are presented to us as 
human and in the language of humanity. And the difficulty (3) of expect- 
ing to find fruit before the time of figs (see Mark 11 : 13) disappears on a 
little examination, (a) The leaves gave promise of fruit, for the fruit usually 
appeared before the leaves. (6) Though fig-harvest came in June or July, 
early figs are found now as early as the passover in Palestine. The sug- 
gestion that last year's figs, or winter figs, were looked for takes the chief 
point out of the moral lesson. Last year's figs might be on a leafless tree, 
but here it was because the tree had leaves that fruit was looked for. Though 
it was too early for figs generally (" time of figs was not yet"), there might 
be some early figs. Prof. Post, of Syria, tells me that in his garden in Beirut 
he had young figs on two fig trees as early as January 22. One tree bore its 
usual crop the previous summer, cast its leaves in November and had a tuft 
of fresh figs in January, but the leaves were not out. The figs would ripen 
about the middle of March, or two weeks before passover time. Dr. W. M. 
Thomson says he has plucked early figs from trees in Lebanon, 150 miles 
north of Jerusalem, in May, though the trees are nearly a month later in 
Lebanon than in southern Palestine. Dr. S. Merrill tells of finding young 
figs on trees near Tiberias, in February. Miss Bremer found a leafless tree 
full of young figs near Bethlehem early in March, which, she adds, will not 
take many weeks to ripen. Prof. Post, in a recent letter, says : " The ob- 
servations made before are accurate, and special search would confirm them." 
He adds : " The fig tree is a peculiarly unsightly tree until covered with 
leaves. Its twigs are very tender and juicy, and put forth a rosette of leaves 
after the appearance of the fruit bud. . . . The leaves are not fairly out 
until the warm days of May, when ' summer is near.' " The testimony on 
this point might be extended to several pages. This much has been given 
because it is interesting in connection with this the only miracle of destruction 
recorded of our Lord (for the destruction of the swine was not miraculous, 
but only permitted by Jesus), and also because my statements in the Com- 
mentary on Mark were at first questioned by a prominent journal, but ao» 
cepted after an examination of the testimony. 
14 



210 



A COMMENTARY ON THE GOSPEL OF MATTHEW. [Matt. 21 : 20-23. 



20. How . . . the fig" tree withered away !] Some read this as an 
exclamation, and some as a question. It is in the form of a question in 
Tyndale's Version and in the earlier editions of the Version of 1611, as also 
in the Revised Version, 1881. In the current editions of 1611 it is an ex- 
clamation. It perhaps partakes of both — being an interrogative exclamation. 
The disciples' remark and the lessons that followed were on the morning 
after the condemnation of the tree. See Mark 11 : 12, 19, 20. Trench sug- 
gests that the fig tree appears prominently in the Gospels only as a symbol 
of evil. Compare Mark 11 : 13 and Luke 13 : 6. An old tradition says it 
was the tree of temptation in Eden. Adam and Eve tried to cover their 
nakedness with fig leaves, to assume a false appearance before Jehovah and 
to hide their guilt. By having leaves it pretended to have early fruit. It 
seemed to be better than its fellows — a Pharisee among the trees. And hav- 
ing leaves without fruit was a sure proof that it would have no fruit. Hence 
it became a fit symbol of moral barrenness and of the punishment that would 
justly be visited upon such barrenness. 

21. If ye have faith] The disciples marvelled (v. 20) at the power 
that could effect this blight by a word, rather than at the teaching it was 
meant to convey. Jesus appears to follow the turn of their thought, rather 
than the direct lesson of the miracle. So he declares this miracle is a small 
one in comparison with those which they could do if they had unwavering 
faith. Before the prayer of faith everything will give way. The greatest 
difficulties will be removed. Things which seem as impossible as the removal 
of a mountain into the sea will be no real barrier to confiding faith. Any- 
thing they will ask in believing prayer they will receive. This applies no 
doubt especially to spiritual things, but neither can temporal things, so far 
as they may affect true Christian work, be excluded. The "doubt" in the 
Greek suggests questioning. An Oriental would not take these words about 
a mountain in a literal sense, but as a figurative description of removing any- 
thing that seemed impossible to do. 

23. By what authority . . . and who g"ave thee this authority?] 
Here was an open conflict. The authority was disputed as (1) insufficient, 
and (2) it could not be from a rightful source. This was the meaning under 
their double question. Your authority must be human or divine. If human 



Common Version. 

20 And when the disciples saw it, they 
marvelled, saying, How soon is the fig tree 
withered away ! 

21 Jesus answered and said unto them, 
Verily I say unto you, If ye have faith, and 
doubt not, ye shall not only do this which is 
done to the fig tree, but also if ye shall say 
unto this mountain, Be thou removed, and 
be thou cast into the sea; it shall be done. 

22 And all things, whatsoever ye shall ask 
in prayer, believing, ye shall receive. 

23 fl And when he was come into the tem- 
ple, the chief priests and the elders of the 
people came unto him as he was teaching, 
and said, By what authority doest thou these 
things? and who gave thee this authority? 



Revised Version. 

20 away. And when the disciples saw it, 
they marvelled, saying, How did the fig 

21 tree immediately wither away? And 
Jesus answered and said unto them, Ver- 
ily I say unto you, If ye have faith, and 
doubt not, ye shall not only do what is 
done to the fig tree, but even if ye shall 
say unto this mountain, Be thou taken 
up and cast into the sea, it shall be done. 

22 And all things, whatsoever ye shall ask 
in prayer, believing, ye shall receive. 

23 And when he was come into the tem- 
ple, the chief priests and the elders of the 
people came unto him as he was teach- 
ing, and said, By what authority doest 
thou these things? and who gave thee 



Matt. 21 : 24-2.1] THE BARREN FIG TREE AND UNBELIEF. 211 

it ought to have come from our recognized council. If divine, who gave it 
to you ? 

25. The baptism of John, . . . from heaven, or . . . men 2] This 
was a fair and common way in the East of answering an attack like this. 
They had three ways of meeting the counter question : 1. To say from 
heaven. 2. To say from men. 3. To say we cannot tell. The first would 
virtually acknowledge Jesus as the Christ, for John had testified to them of 
him. And if John's work was from heaven, then his testimony must be 
accepted. If they said from men, it would have aroused that popular indig- 
nation against themselves which they wished to turn against Jesus. So they 
confessed ignorance : " We cannot tell." Their refusal to answer the counter 
question left Jesus free to refuse an answer to their attack. 

28. A . . . man had two sons] This parable is given by Matthew 
only. This and the two that followed it — the wicked husbandmen and the 
marriage of the king's son, or the wedding garment — were intended to show 
the unbelief of the Jews and to what wickedness such unbelief would lead. 
Thus they were warned by a method of teaching at once forcible, simple, not 
offensive, but tender and persuasive. The parables indicated — 1. The stub- 
bornness of the rulers. 2. The repentance of the sinners they despised. 3. 
The long spiritual rebellion of the Jewish nation. 4. Their rejection of the 
Messiah. 5. The welcome of Gentiles into the new kingdom. 6. The final 
condemnation of unbelieving Israel, 22 : 5-7, as in the punishment of those 
who rejected the king's invitations to the marriage feast of his son. 

Son, go work] Here both are sons. One represents those who repented 
at John's call and under the ministry of Jesus. The other, the Pharisees, 
scribes and unbelieving Jews, who professed to do God's will, but did it not. 
There is no ground for the old interpretation that one son meant the Jews 
and the other the Gentiles. In broadest application one son represents all 
who profess to obey God, but in reality do not obey him. The other son 
represents those who openly, boldly and defiantly reject God's call, but after- 
ward repent and obey him. The rulers, no doubt, perceived the point of 
the parable ; but, given to " acting a part," they seemed not to see it, and 



Common Version. 



24 And Jesus answered and said unto 
them, I also will ask you one thing, which 
if ye tell me, I will in like wise tell you by 
what authority I do these things. 

25 The baptism of John, whence was it? 
from heaven, or of men ? And they rea- 
soned with themselves, saying, If we shall 
say, From heaven ; he will say unto us, 
Why did ye not then believe him ? 

26 But if we shall say, Of men ; we fear 
the people ; for all hold John as a prophet. 

27 And they answered Jesus, and said, 
We cannot tell. And he said unto them, 
Neither tell I you by what authority I do 
these things. 

28 % But what think ye? A certain man 
had two sons ; and he came to the first, and 
said, Son, go work to day in my vineyard. 

i Gr. word. * Gr. Child. 



Revised Version. 

24 this authority? And Jesus answered 
and said unto them, I also will ask you 
one i question, which if ye tell me, I like- 
wise will tell you by what authority I 

25 do these things. The baptism of John, 
whence was it? from heaven or from 
men? And they reasoned with them- 
selves, saying, If we shall say, From 
heaven ; he will say unto us, Why then 

26 did ye not believe him ? But if we shall 
say, From men ; we fear the multitude ; 

27 fof all hold John as a prophet. And they 
answered Jesus, and said, We know not. 
He also said unto them, Neither tell I you 

28 by what authority I do these things. But 
what think ye? A man had two sons; 
and he came to the first, and said, 2 Son, 



212 



A COMMENTARY ON THE GOSPEL OF MATTHEW. [Matt. 21 : 29-33. 



hence gave the only answer they could give to such a case, and convicted 
themselves. 

31. publicans and . . . harlots go . . . before you] The vilest and 
most outrageous sinners repent and get into the kingdom of God before you. 
The Pharisees are not shut out from repentance and the kingdom. Some 
did come. Paul was a Pharisee ; so were Nicodemus and Joseph of Arima- 
thea. But the great body of ecclesiastics, when they saw the publicans and 
sinners believing and repenting at the preaching of John, did not even then 
repent nor believe the way of righteousness he preached. 

Suggestive Applications. — 1. Jesus was hungry ; he knows how to 
sympathize with the thousands who suffer for lack of daily bread. 2. Fruit 
trees are expected to bear fruit. 3. Barren fruit trees are worthless. 4. 
To pretend to have fruit and to bear none is the worst kind of barrenness. 

5. Profession without piety is like having abundance of leaves without a fig. 

6. A great show in religion and no work, no fruit, exposes one to the doom 
of the barren fig tree. 7. The Christian is to be not merely a shade tree, 
but a fruit tree. 8. The prayer of faith sweeps away every obstacle. 9. The 
gospel preacher has authority from the King of heaven. 10. There are two 
sorts of sons — (1) sinning but repentant ones ; (2) professedly obedient ones, 
but confirmed hypocrites. 11. Promise well and work well. 



The Wicked Husbandmen, vs. 35-46. Mark 12 : 1-12 ; Luke 20 : 9-19. 
Jerusalem, Tuesday, April 4, a.d. 30. 

Analysis. — The parable, vs. 35-40 ; the men condemned, v. 41 ; the 
rulers accused of rejecting Christ, and are rejected, vs. 42-44 ; they fear to 
arrest Jesus, vs. 45, 46. 

This parable and its application are given in the first three Gospels. In 
the parable of the two sons Jesus has shown how the hypocritical and self- 
righteous professed but significantly failed to obey God, while the bold, open 
sinner hearing God's call repented, and thus in fact obeyed God before the 
former class. Jesus now illustrates to what lengths in evil the Jews will go, 
not hesitating to kill Christ, the Son of God. 

33. Hear another parable] The hearers, the rulers, no doubt, did not 



Common Version. 

29 He answered and said, I will not ; but 
afterward he repented, and went. 

30 And he came to the second, and said 
likewise. And he answered and said, I go, 
sir ; and went not. 

31 Whether of them twain did the will of 
his father ? They say unto him, The first. 
Jesus saith unto them, Verily I say unto 
you, That the publicans and the harlots go 
into the kingdom of God before you. 

32 For John came unto you in the way of 
righteousness, and ye believed him not; but 
the publicans and the harlots believed him : 
and ye, when ye had seen it, repented not 
afterward, that ye might believe him. 

33 f Hear another parable: There was a 
certain householder, which planted a vine- 



Revised Version. 

29 go work to-day in the vineyard. And he 
answered and said, I will not : but after- 

30 ward he repented himself, and went. And 
he came to the second, and said likewise. 
And he answered and said, I go, sir : aud 

31 went not. Whether of the twain did the 
will of his father? They say, The first. 
Jesus saith unto them, Verily 1 say unto 
you, that the publicans and the harlots 
go into the kingdom of God before you. 

32 For John came unto you in the way of 
righteousness, and ye believed him not : 
but the publicans and the harlots be- 
lieved him : and ye, when ye saw it, did 
not even repent yourselves afterward, 
that ye might believe him. 

33 Hear another parable: There was a 



Matt. 21: 34-39.1 THE WICKED HUSBANDMEN. 213 

wish to hear any more. They winced at the former parable, and hoped Jesus 
would let them go. But he was not done yet. So this parable, suggested 
perhaps by Ps. 80 : 15 and Isa. 5 : 2-7, follows. In Isa. 5 : 2 the Hebrew word 
means " to hew out," see R. V., of a solid rock. This is implied here. 

34. time of the fruit drew near] or " the season of fruits drew near." 
This letting system is a common way of farming and cultivating vineyards in 
the East. The owner has the vineyard, makes needful improvements, lets it 
to tenants who care for the vines, pick the grapes, and make them into raisins 
or wine. For their labor they get from one-quarter to one-third of the pro- 
duce, or they may receive an equivalent in money. They are to deliver the 
owner's portion to him voluntarily or at his order. In the East the owner 
is usually absent from the vineyard and land. The agent of the owner often 
brings animals with panniers to carry away the produce. In the parable 
the messengers were sent away empty, the husbandmen beating some serv- 
ants and killing others. The owner, with unusual forbearance, sent one 
company after another, but to no good purpose. 

37. sent unto them his son] The owner saw that his authority was 
despised perhaps because the messengers sent were inferior and too im- 
patient and harsh in their demeanor to gain respect. So he decided to 
send his son, one only son Mark tells us. Why God, the owner, should do 
this, knowing what they would do to his Son, is a difficulty. But as 
Trench remarks, it is the same difficulty which we meet in trying to recon- 
cile man's freedom with God's sovereignty and foreknowledge. We know 
they must be reconcilable, but we cannot reconcile them by our grain of 
wisdom any easier than we can tell how a blade of grass grows. 

39. they . . . cast him out . . . and slew him] "killed him." 
This method of treating absent owners of land is not unusual in Oriental 
lands. Naboth was slain and his vineyard seized by Jezebel for Ahab. 
Tenant farmers often contest the ownership of the land with the true owner 
in Syria. The death of the heir not infrequently gives an opportunity for 
such unlawful seizure. 



Common Version. 

yard, and hedged it round about, and digged 
a winepress in it, and built a tower, and let 
it out to husbandmen, and went into a far 
country: 

34 And when the time of the fruit drew 
near, he sent his servants to the husband- 
men, that they might receive the fruits of it. 

35 And the husbandmen took his servants, 
and beat one, and killed another, and stoned 
another. 

36 Again, he sent other servants more than 
the first: and they did unto them likewise. 

37 But last of all he sent unto them his 
son, saying, They will reverence my son. 

88 But when the husbandmen saw the 
son, they said among themselves, This is the 



Revised Version. 

man that was a householder, who plant- 
ed a vineyard, and set a hedge about it, 
and digged a winepress in it, and built a 
tower, and let it out to husbandmen, and 

34 went into another country. And when 
the season of the fruits drew near, he 
sent his * servants to the husbandmen, to 

35 receive 2 his fruits. And the husband- 
men took his 1 servants, and beat one, 
and killed another, and stoned another. 

36 Again, he sent other ! servants more than 
the first: and they did unto them in like 

37 manner. But afterward he sent unto 
them his son, saving, They will rever- 

38 ence my son. But the husbandmen, 
when they saw the son, said among 



heir; come, let us kill him, and let us seize ; themselves, This is the heir*, come. let 

on his inheritance. ns kill him, and take his Inheritance. 

39 And they caught him, and cast him out 39 And they took him, and cast him forth 

of the vineyard, and slew him. | out of the vineyard, and killed him- 

1 Gr. bondservants. * Or, the fruits of it 



214 



A COMMENTARY ON THE GOSPEL OF MATTHEW. [Matt. 21 : 40-46 



41. miserably destroy] or, "miserably destroy those miserable men" 
which represents the iteration of sound in the Greek words. The applica- 
tion of the parable is plain, though if one seeks for some special meaning 
in every detail, he will be liable to run into fanciful rather than profitable 
ideas. It was aimed at the Jews, especially the rulers. The owner repre- 
sents God, the vineyard is God's kingdom, the husbandmen are the Jewish 
people, the servants are the old prophets, the son is Christ, the hedge may 
be the ceremonial law separating them from other nations, and the fruit is the 
duty and obedience owed to God. The Jews had refused to hear the prophets, 
they were rejecting Jesus, and now he warns them that they will kill him. 
For further notes in detail, see People's Commentary on Mark, pp. 137, 140. 

42. The stone which the builders rejected] The citation is from the 
Messianic Psalm 118:22, 23, a part of the great Hillel always used at 
the passover. For similar reference of it to the Messiah, compare Acts 4 : 11 ; 
1 Pet. 2:7; Eph. 2 : 20. This rejection of the Son of God, at which you 
exclaim in the parable, is an old truth announced in your Scriptures, he 
seems to say. And because of this wicked conduct of your nation God will 
do to it as you say will be done to those wicked husbandmen. 

44. whosoever shall foil on this stone] But notice the revised read- 
ing of this verse. It would be very hard for those who would be offended 
because of Jesus. These are they that would fall on the stone. But more 
terrible would it be for those with whom Christ would be offended. They 
are those that the stone would fall upon and scatter as dust. 

45. perceived that lie spake of them] The rulers could not miss the 
personal application of all this to them. They would have crushed him by 
force ; have arrested and delivered him up to the Roman power. But fear 
of the people, and that alone, restrained them. 



Common Version. 

40 When the lord therefore of the vine- 
yard cometh, what will he do unto those 
husbandmen ? 

41 They say unto him, He will miserably 
destroy those wicked men, and will let out 
his vineyard unto other husbandmen, which 
shall render him the fruits in their seasons. 

42 Jesus saith unto them, Did ye never 
read in the Scriptures, The stone which the 
builders rejected, the same is become the 
head of the corner : this is the Lord's doing, 
and it is marvellous in our eyes ? 

43 Therefore say I unto you, The kingdom 
of God shall be taken from you, and given to 
a nation bringing forth the fruits thereof. 

44 And whosoever shall fall on this stone 
shall be broken : but on whomsoever it shall 
fall, it will grind him to powder. 

45 And when the chief priests and Phari- 
sees had heard his parables, they perceived 
that he spake of them. 

46 But when they sought to lay hands on 
him, they feared the multitude, because 
they took him for a prophet. 



Revised Version. 

40 When therefore the lord of the vineyard 
shall come, what will he do unto those 

41 husbandmen? They say unto him, He 
will miserably destroy those miserable 
men, and will let out the vineyard unto 
other husbandmen, that shall render him 

42 the fruits in their seasons. Jesus saith 
unto them, Did ye never read in the 
Scriptures, 

The stone which the builders rejected, 
The same was made the head of the 

corner : 
This was from the Lord, 
And it is marvellous in our eyes? 

43 Therefore say I unto you, The kingdom 
of God shall be taken away from you, and 
shall be given to a nation bringing forth 

44 tbe fruits thereof, i And he that falleth 
on this stone shall be broken to pieces : 
but on whomsoever it shall fall, it will 

45 scatter him as dust. And when the 
chief priests and the Pharisees heard his 
parables, they perceived that he spake of 

46 them. And when they sought to lay hold 
on him, they feared the multitudes, be- 
cause they took him for a prophet. 



1 Some ancient authorities omit v. 44. 



Matt. 21.] THE WICKED HUSBANDMEN. 215 

Suggestive Applications. — 1. God founds a kingdom in this world ; he 
has made a hedge and provided protection for it. 2. He has men to take 
care of it for him. 3. He has been patient and long suffering with imper- 
fect and erring servants in his kingdom. 4. He has sent his Son to reclaim 
them ; they killed the Son. 5. The unbelief of sinners is their ruin. 6. 
Those who are offended at Christ are in danger of being broken. 7. Those 
with whom Christ is offended will be destroyed, unless they repent. 

The Temple. — The temple in the time of Christ was the third temple on 
Mount Moriah. The first temple, built by Solomon, had been often pillaged, 
and was finally destroyed. The second temple was built by Zerubbabel, in- 
ferior only in glory and magnificence but not in size to the first. This had 
fallen into decay, and to please the Jews Herod the Great undertook to re- 
pair or rebuild it. This third temple was begun about twenty years before 
the Christian era. Most of the structure and buildings were completed with- 
in seven or eight years, but portions of it were not finished until many years 
after, under Agrippa II. See John 2 : 20. It was within the present Haram 
enclosure, at Jerusalem, which was an irregular parallelogram about 500 
cubits square. It was entered by five gates, the gate Shushan being opposite 
the temple proper. The word temple was often applied to the whole enclosure. 
Inside the enclosure were " porches " or covered walks ; two rows on three 
sides and three rows on the south side. Solomon's Porch was on the east 
side, where was also Nicanor or the Beautiful Gate. The Gentile court was 
the outer court, largest on the south side ; the court of the women was within, 
near the Beautiful Gate ; beyond and higher fifteen steps was the court oj Is- 
rael, and within this the court of the priests. At the eastern end of this court 
stood the altar of burnt offering and the laver. Within this court stood the 
temple proper. The holy place was a room 60 by 30 feet, having the golden 
candlestick, table of shew bread and altar of incense. Beyond this was the 
most holy place, a room 30 feet square, separated from the others by a 
costly veil. Within this, in the first temple, built by Solomon, were the ark 
and the mercy seat. Into this room the high priest entered once a year to 
make atonement for the nation. The temple was built chiefly of white 
marble, much of the sacred portions being plated with silver and gold. The 
Gentiles were not allowed to enter the sacred courts, but were restricted to 
the court of the Gentiles. A balustrade at the entrance bore a notice that 
any Gentile who rashly ventured to pass beyond it would forfeit his life. 
Such a notice was lately found. The temple was built of two or more sto- 
ries, and, as some suppose, with the upper story projecting over the one 
below. The castle of Antonia stood at the northwest corner of the temple 
enclosure, from which there was a secret passage to the temple area. See 
Acts 21 : 31-34. This third temple was destroyed by the Romans, a.d. 70. 
The emperor Julian, the apostate, attempted to rebuild it in a.d. 363, but 
his plans were repeatedly defeated. A Mohammedan mosque now stands on 
the dome of the rock, the site of the former temple, or, as some suppose, oi' 
the altar of burnt offering. 



216 A COMMENTARY ON THE GOSPEL OF MATTHEW. [Matt. 22 : 1 

Chap. XXII. Marriage of the King's Son. vs. 1-14. 
The Temple, Jerusalem, Tuesday, April 4, a.d. 30. 

Analysis. — The marriage, v. 2 ; the first reminder to the bidden guests, v. 
3 ; second reminder, v. 4 ; its treatment, vs. 5, 6 ; the king's wrath, v. 7 ; new 
guests bidden, vs. 8-10; guest without a wedding garment, vs. 11-13 ; appli- 
cation, v. 14. 

This parable is recorded by Matthew only. The parable resembles that 
of the great supper in Luke 14 : 15-24. Indeed some of the resemblances 
are so marked as to lead men like Calvin and others to suppose that the 
two are identical. Meyer, with his usual boldness, asserts that the parable 
in Luke is an imperfect version of this. But the time, place, design and 
circumstances of the two, although having some resemblances, are quite 
different. The parable of the great supper was spoken at an earlier period 
in the ministry of our Lord than this of the marriage of the king's son. 
That was spoken in a Pharisee's house, this in the temple ; that was on 
the Sabbath, this on the third day of the week ; that illustrates the grace, 
this the judgment, of God. In Luke it is not a king's supper, there is no 
marriage, there is no violence by the declining guests, there are no armies 
and no murderers, and no destruction of those rejecting the invitation. The 
differences are too wide and marked for us to hold them as in any sense iden- 
tical, or that either is a modified version of the other. This parable is some- 
times called " the wedding garment," from the closing part of it, and some- 
times " the marriage feast," from the words rendered " marriage" and "wed- 
ding " in vs. 2 and 3, which include the idea of a feast, or " marriage feast " 
as in the Revised Version, and from the word " dinner " in v. 4. But these 
are defective titles, since they do not indicate the main thought of the nar- 
rative, and the title given above is preferable. The basis of the parable 
here is a marriage. A similar thought is found elsewhere in the New and 
also in the Old Testament. God is the bridegroom and Israel the bride. 
Isa. 62 : 5. Israel is like an unfaithful wife. Jer. 2:2; 3 : 1-4. Again Christ 
is the bridegroom, and the Church the bride. Eph. 5 : 23-27. The marriage 
of the Lamb is one of the sublime pictures given of the redeemed in 
heaven. Eev. 19 : 7-9. Again the Church is the bride. Rev. 21 : 2 ; 22 : 17. 

Keep in mind the connection and the circumstances of this parable. Jesus 
was teaching in the temple. The rulers questioned his authority. He had 
baffled and silenced them. He then turns upon them and exposes their 
hypocrisy by the parable of the two sons. He follows that by exposing 
their wicked designs and their murderous spirit and conduct through the 
parable of the wicked husbandmen. He now proceeds to warn them of their 
coming destruction and that of their nation, and the call of the Gentiles, 
by the parable of the marriage of the king's sou. For the meaning of the 
guest without the wedding garment, see below. 

1. Jesus answered] He continued to speak in parables, answering prob- 



Common Version. 

CHAP. XXII.— And Jesus answered and 
spake unto them again by parables, 
and said, 



Revised Version. 
22 And Jesus answered and spake again 



Matt. 22 : 2-4.] MARKIAGE OF THE KING'S SON. 217 

ably their thoughts and their acts rather than their spoken objections. See 
21 : 45, 46. 

2. The kingdom of heaven is like unto a certain king] or, literally, 
" a man king," which made a feast or " nuptials," a series of " feasts," for 
his son. The marriage feast in the East usually lasted several days. 
The chief part of the ceremony clusters about the bridegroom, not about 
the bride, as with us. The Oriental wedding of a great man is an event 
of great splendor. There are no cards as with us. The guests are invited 
by a personal call, or by servants of high rank. This is done some time 
before the event. As the time approaches the guests are reminded of the 
event, lest it be forgotten. So the servants are sent " to call them that were 
bidden." It was not the first invitation, but the first reminder that they 
were now expected. This is in accord with the habits of the East in all 
engagements. " If two have a business engagement," says Dr. Post, " one 
sends to the other just before the appointed time to see that he remembers 
the engagement." In special and important occasions this was repeated 
as in the parable. It was not because the king supposed their delay was 
due to any misunderstanding that he sent the reminder, as Trench errone- 
ously suggests. This was the prevailing custom in the East. In Syria the 
greatest care is taken to notify the invited guests of their expected presence. 

4. Behold ... my dinner : my oxen and my fatlings] This is the 
second reminder. The word for "dinner" strictly signifies an early lunch 
taken before or about noon, and which ushered in the marriage festivities — 
a marriage feast. But it is sometimes used in the wider sense, and may here 
apply to the true dinner, which Dr. Post describes as often a very sumptuous 
meal among Asiatics. The guests are not usually at a table. The meal is 
served on large platters or trays. The dishes consist of immense piles of 
pildf or rice cooked with meat, of savory sauces, stuffed mutton, lamb and 
fowls, of a variety of soups, leben or curdled milk, cheese, olives, pickles and 
kibby. This dish is made of cracked wheat, meat, onions and pine seed. 
The meat and wheat are pounded together in a mortar, spread on a metal 
tray, a layer of sliced onions laid on it, covered with spices and pine seed, 
and another layer of wheat and meat on the top of that. It is then baked 
in the oven in fat. It is a very rich dish. Beside these mejedderah (Esau's 
pottage), marrows, egg-plants, stewed and stuffed tomatoes, and a great 
variety of sweets, fruits, rose water, orange-flower water, and even musk, 



Common Version. 

2 The kingdom of heaven is like unto a 
certain king, which made a marriage for 
his son, 

3 And sent forth his servants to call them 
that were hidden to the wedding : and they 
would not come. 

4 Again, he sent forth other servants, say- 



Revtsed Version. 

2 in parables unto them, saying, The king- 
dom of heaven is likened unto a certain 
king, who made a marriage feast for his 

3 son, and sent forth his x servants to call 
them that were bidden to the marriage 
feast: and they would not come. Again 
he sent forth other ^servants, saying, 



ing, Tell them which are bidden, Behold, I Tell them that are bidden, Behold, I 

have prepared ray dinner: my oxen and have made ready my dinner: my oxen 

my failings are killed, and all things are and my fallings are killed, and all things 

ready: come unto the marriage. are ready: come to the marriage feast. 

1 Gr. bondservants. 



218 



A COMMENTARY ON THE GOSPEL OF MATTHEW. [Matt. 22 : 5-11. 



with wine, arrack, coffee and cakes in bewildering variety and profusion, are 
pressed upon the guests. Meanwhile music, quite overpowering if not re- 
pulsive to western taste, adds inspiration to the scene. Often gypsies play, 
dance and play games to amuse the friends. The women scream their con- 
gratulations, and chant praises not always in the chastest rhyme. The bride 
is brought from her home to the bridegroom's on a richly-caparisoned animal, 
attended by a crowd of friends, with joyous shout and song. 

5. made light Of it] This was the highest possible affront. No greater 
insult can be offered in the East than to neglect such an invitation. A 
man may neglect a business engagement, fail to keep his promise in a 
thousand ways, and excite no remark; but the whole community would be 
shocked by absence from a wedding or a feast. These neglected the first 
and second reminder, as well as the original invitation. They added sneers, 
turning to their daily callings. Some used vile language to the servants, 
" entreated them shamefully," and getting into altercations, even slew them , 
not so rare an occurrence in the East, nor there regarded so outrageous as it 
would seem in the western world. 

7. destroyed those murderers] The guests were subjects, and their 
acts made them rebels. Such acts of vengeance are characteristic of eastern 
despotic rulers. 

9. Go ye . • . the highways] or "partings of the highways," as in 
the Revised Version. But neither reading gives the precise idea of the Greek 
word. It does not mean the corners or squares where the streets part, as 
Meyer has justly observed. It refers rather to places where country roads 
cross each other ; country " cross-roads." At these beggars usually sit. The 
servants called all, without regard to appearance or character ; " both bad 
and good," v. 10. So guests were secured for the wedding feast. 

11, king eame ... lie saw ... a man which had not on a wed- 
ding garment] The king in welcoming his guests saw one without a wed- 
ding garment. The king was not inspecting nor examining his guests, as 



Common Version. 

5 But they made light of if, and went their 
ways, one to his farm, another to his mer- 
chandise : 

6 And the remnant took his servants, and 
entreated (hem spitefully, and slew them. 

7 But when the king heard thereof, he was 
wroth : and he sent forth his armies, and de- 
stroyed those murderers, and burned up 
their city. 

8 Then said he to his servants, The wed- 
ding is ready, but they which were bidden 
were not worthy. 

9 Go ye therefore into the highways, and 
as many as ye shall find, bid to the marriage. 

10 So those servants went out into the 
highways, and gathered together all as many 
as they found, both bad and good: and the 
wedding was furnished with guests. 

11 If And when the king came in to see 
the guests, he saw there a man which had 
Dot on a wedding garment: 



Revised Version. 

5 But they made light of it, and went their 
ways, one to his own farm, another to 

6 his merchandise: and the rest laid hold 
on his 1 servants, and entreated them 

7 shamefully, and killed them. But the 
king was wroth ; and he sent his armies, 
and destroyed those murderers, and 

8 burned their city. Then saith he to his 
1 servants, The wedding is ready, but 
they that were bidden were not worthy. 

9 Go ye therefore unto the partings of the 
highways, and as many as ye shall find, 

10 bid to the marriage feast. And those 
1 servants went out into the highways, 
and gathered together all as many as 
they found, both bad and good : and the 

11 wedding was filled with guests. But 
when the king came in to behold the 
guests, he saw there a man who had not 



1 Gr. bondservants. 



Matt. 22 : 12-14.] MARRIAGE OF THE KING'S SON. 219 

some imagine. According to the eastern custom he was giving them a proper 
welcome. In doing so he noticed one who had not on a wedding garment. 
It is not certain, but probable, that the guests were furnished suitable robes 
by the liberality of the king. We know that suits of garments were com- 
mon and very ancient gifts by royal and other great men. Gen. 41 : 42 ; 
45:22; Judg. 14:12; 1 Sam. 18:4; 2 Kings 5:5-22; 10:22; Esth. 6 : 8 ; 
8 : 15 ; Dan. 5 : 7. Meyer, De Wette and some others, however, reject the 
view that the garments were given, and it must be admitted that the custom 
is not widely prevalent in Syria or the East now. Yet Horace found 5000 
mantles or robes in the wardrobe of Lucullus. At the marriage of Sultan 
Mahmoud every guest had a robe furnished him at the sultan's expense. 
There seems to be a fitness in the supposed provision of robes for them here 
by the king. Eosenmuller also cites several instances of this provision. 
Olearius was invited to the table of a Persian king, and provided with 
splendid vestments to put over his dress before appearing before the king. 
Schulz mentions in his travels that a similar robe was provided him to visit 
the sultan, and another traveller mentions a similar experience. It certainly 
relieves the parable of a grave difficulty in interpretation. If the king had 
furnished no robe, and this guest had none and was too poor to buy one, he 
would scarcely have been speechless. He would have pleaded his poverty 
as a fair excuse. He could have pointed to his presence as showing his at- 
tention to the king's call. This view also furnishes a reasonable ground for 
the severe condemnation. 

13. east him into outer darkness] From the splendor of the wedding 
chamber to the darkness of the outside, he mingled with those groaning in 
despair because excluded from the feast. See notes on 13 : 42-50 and 8 : 12. 

14. few • • . chosen] The original guests who were called belonged to 
many classes. They did not come. Those who did come were chiefly of one 
class — the obscure, humble, despised class. These few were the chosen. The 
Jews were repeatedly called ; the Gentiles also were called. Of the Gentiles 
who came those were " chosen " who had on the " wedding garment," the 
righteousness of Christ. 

Lessons of the Parable.— The spiritual meaning of the parable in 
the main is obvious. The king is God, the marriage is that of Christ with 
his Church, the espousals, according to eastern custom, being assumed to pre- 
cede the festivities. The " bidden " guests, who are twice reminded that the 
feast is near, are the Jews ; the reminders are the preaching of John the Bap- 
tist, and of Jesus and his apostles. The murderous persons are the Jewish 



Common Version. 

12 And he saith unto him, Friend, how 
earnest thou in hither not having a wedding 
garment? And lie was speechless. 

13 Then said the king to the servants, 
Bind him hand and foot, and take him away, 
and cast him into outer darkness; there 
shall he weeping and gnashing of teeth. 

14 For many are called, but few are chosen. 



Revised Version. 



12 on a wedding-garment : and he saith unto 
him, Friend, how earnest thou in hither 
not having a wedding-garment? And he 

13 was speechless. Then tin; king said to 
the ! servants, Bind him hand and foot, 
and cast him out into the outer darkness ; 
there shall be the weeping and gnashing 

14 of teeth. For many are called, but few 
chosen. 

1 Or, ministers 



220 



A COMMENTARY ON THE GOSPEL OF MATTHEW. [Matt. 22 : 15-17. 



rulers ; their destruction and that of their city came in the fall of Jerusalem. 
The highways and the bad and good called are the land and people of all 
Gentile nations. The " wedding garment " has been variously interpreted as — 
(1) charity, Roman Catholics say; (2) faith, older Protestants say ; (3) both 
charity and faith ; (4) righteousness in the widest sense as given us of God. 
The latter is the best view. The prophet represents our righteousness as 
filthy rags. Isa. 64 : 6. The redeemed are clothed in robes washed in the 
blood of the Lamb. Eev. 7 : 14. " For fine linen is the righteousness of the 
saints," or " righteous acts of the saints " as the Revised Version reads. See 
Rev. 19 : 8. 



The Herodians and Sadducees Silenced, vs. 15-33. Mark 12 : 13-27 ; 

Luke 20 : 20-38. 
The Te.mple, Jerusalem, Tuesday, April 4, a.d. 30. 

15. Then . • . the Pharisees . . . took counsel] The Pharisees appear 
as the leaders in the plots to ensnare and arrest Jesus. They had hitherto 
aimed to destroy his influence as a religious teacher. Now they plot to de- 
stroy him by bringing him into collision with the Roman rulers. The 
"counsel" was sought not by a formal meeting of the Sanhedrin, but rather 
by an informal conference of the leaders. 

16. their disciples with the Herodians] The Pharisees were leaders 
of the patriotic party opposed to all foreign rule. The Herodians were a 
political Jewish party attached to the fortunes of the Herodian family. 
Though not Romans, they were in favor of Roman rule and opposed to the 
political views of the Pharisees. That the latter should combine with the 
former shows how desperate and bitter they had become against Jesus. The 
Pharisees put forward their young disciples. The question to be settled was 
about Roman tribute. So the Herodians joined as parties and witnesses to 
the expected evidence of disloyalty to be wrung from the teacher. 

17. Is it lawful to g:ive tribute unto Cesar] With great show of re- 
spect and true eastern volubility of empty compliments and flattery, they 
craftily introduced their question. You are an impartial judge. Now what 
do you think ? Is it right to pay tribute to a foreigner, to Caesar ? Their 
question was intended to remind Jesus of Deut. 17 : 15. If he answered, It 
is lawful, then the patriot party and the zealots would condemn him. If 
he answered, It is not lawful, as they fain would have him do, then the 



Common Version. 

15 ^ Then went the Pharisees, and took 
counsel how they might entangle him in his 
talk. 

16 And they sent out unto him their disci- 
ples with the Herodians, sayiug, Master, we 
know that thou art true, and teachest the 
way of God in truth, neither carest thou 
for any mam,': for thou regardest not the 
person of men. 

17 Tell us therefore, What thinkest thou? 
Is it lawful to give tribute unto Cesar, or 
not? 



Revised Version. 

15 Then went the Pharisees, and took 
counsel how they might ensnare him in 

16 hia talk. And they send to him their 
disciples, with the Herodians, saying, 
1 Master, we know that thou art true, 
and teachest the way of God in truth, 
and carest not for any one: for thou 

17 regardest not the person of men. Tell 
us therefore, What thinkest thou? Is it 
lawful to give tribute unto Caesar, or 



Or, Teacher 



Matt. 22: 18-23.] THE HERODIANS AND SADDUCEES SfLENCED. 



221 



Roman power would be upon him at once. With consummate craft they had 
arranged the attack. This tribute was a Roman poll-tax, and, perhaps, land- 
tax also, and considered inquisitorial. It had been the cause of insurrec- 
tions, for it was a mark of national degradation. 

19. Shew me the tribute money] That is, the coin in which the trib- 
ute is paid. For he saw their wickedness, hypocrisy or craftiness, as it is 
variously characterized by the evangelists. Their conduct, in fact, partook 
of all these. So they brought him a penny, or, more accurately, a denarius, 
It was a Eoman coin worth about fifteen cents. It was of foreign stamp, 
since those struck in Judaea usually had the device of the Maccabsean period. 
The tax was payable in Roman not Jud?pan coin. By accepting this as cur- 
rent coin they virtually acknowledged themselves as subjects of Csesar. 

20. Whose is this image and superscription?] The Roman denarius 
had the head of Tiberius Csesar on one side of the coin. The " superscrip- 
tion," or inscription around the head upon the same side, was in Latin 
abbreviated ; translated it read : " Tiberius Caesar Augustus, son of the 
divine [god] Augustus." Holding up such a coin and asking this question 
was a keen rebuke. 

21. Render . . . Cesar . . . unto God the things] "Render," or 
" give back unto Caesar " what you acknowledge is his ; then give back to 
God the things that are his. The general truth Christ taught is, Whoever 
accepts the benefits of a government is bound to contribute his share in 
support of that government. He owes it allegiance and obedience. But this 
does not free him from his duty to God. He also owes allegiance and obedi- 
ence to God. He is bound to give his portion to the support of God's king- 
dom on the earth. Baffled they left him, astonished at his words. 

23. The same day came . . • the Sadducees] On the character of the 
Sadducees, see notes, chap. 3 : 7. The high priest belonged to this party. 
Jesus was regarded as teaching the Pharisees' doctrine of the resurrection, 
which the Sadducees denied. Seeing the Herodians baffled and the Phari- 
sees in confusion, the Sadducees, with a lofty idea of their social position and 
philosophical wisdom, now propose to reduce the doctrine of a future life to an 
absurdity. They were the " advanced " theologians and the destructive critics 



Common Version. 

18 But Jesus perceived their wickedness, 
and said, Why tempt ye me, ye hypocrites? 

19 Shew me the tribute money. And they 
brought unto him a penny. 

20 And he saith unto them, Whose is this 
image and superscription ? 

21 They say unto him, Cesar's. Then saith 
he unto them, Render therefore unto Cesar 
the things which are Cesar's; and unto God 
the things that are God's. 

22 When they had heard these words, they 
marvelled, and left him, and went their 
way. 

23 If The same day came to him the Saddu- 
cees, which say that there is no resurrection, 
and asked him, 

1 See marginal note on ch. 18 : 28. 



Revised Version. 

18 not? But Jesus perceived their wicked- 
ness, and said, Why try ye me, ye hyp- 

19 ocrites? Shew me the tribute money. 
And they brought unto him a * denarius. 

20 And he saith unto them, Whose is this 

21 image and superscription? They say 
unto him, Caesar's. Then saith he unto 
them, Render therefore unto Caasar the 
things that are Csesar's; and unto God 

22 the things that are God's. And when 
they heard it, they marvelled, and left 
him, and went their way. 

23 On that day there came to him Saddu- 
cees, 2 who say that there is no resurrec- 



2 Many ancient authorities read saying- 






A COMMENTARY ON TflE GOSPEL OF MATTHEW. [Matt. 22:24-32. 



of their day. They propose a question based upon a command of Moses, often 
called the " levirate law," from levir, the Latin word for brother-in-law. See 
Deut. 25 : 5. This law was not peculiar to the Jews, but was recognized by 
other Oriental nations. 

25. there were • . . seven brethren] or "brothers." This was, no 
doubt, an imaginary, though not an impossible, case. They mention the child- 
lessness of the woman, perhaps to prevent the possible answer that the one to 
whom she had borne a child would be her husband in the resurrection. 

29. Ye do err, not knowing the Scriptures] These destructive critics 
and speakers are plainly told their errors: (1) Ignorance of the Scriptures 
which they quoted ; (2) Ignorance of God's power. 

30. For in the resurrection] Not "at the resurrection," as Meyer 
renders it, nor " in the rising " alone, but in the resurrection state. The 
argument is that in the resurrection state these conditions, as marriage, births, 
deaths and the like, which belong to this life, will have no place. You Saddu- 
cees are reasoning on a fallacy. There are no such analogies between this and 
that state of existence as you assume. To the question often asked now, Will 
there be a continuance, in that state, of family ties so dear on earth? the answer 
may be found by considering the power of God. Old relations may be brought 
into new conditions ; old ties will be modified into angelic affections. 

32. not the God of the dead, but of the living] God is not the God 
of the dead. The dead cannot be said to have any God. Hence God is the 
God of the living only. But he is the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob ; 
therefore they are living. This was a proof of immortality ; from this the 
resurrection may be deduced, as a corollary is drawn from the main prop- 
osition. 



Common Version. 

24 Saying, Master, Moses said, If a man 
die, having no children, his brother shall 
marry his wife, and raise up seed unto his 
brother. 

25 Now there were with us seven breth- 
ren : and the first, when he had married a 
wife, deceased, and, having no issue, left his 
wife unto his brother : 

26 Likewise the second also, and the third, 
unto the seventh. 

27 And last of all the woman died also. 

28 Therefore in the resurrection, whose 
wife shall she be of the seven? for they all 
had her. 

29 Jesus answered and said unto them, Ye 
do err, not knowing the Scriptures, nor the 
power of God. 

30 For in the resurrection they neither 
marry, nor are given in marriage, but are 
as the angels of God in heaven. 

31 But as touching the resurrection of the 
dead, have ye not read that which was 
spoken unto you by God, saying, 

32 I am the God of Abraham, and the God 
of Isaac, and the God of Jacob? God is not 
the God of the dead, but of the living. 

1 Or, Teacher 2 Gr. shall perform the duty of a husband's brother to his wife. Compare J>eut. 
35 : 5. 3 Gr. seven. 4 Many ancient aathorities add of God. 



Revised Version. 

24 tion : and they asked him, saying, 1 Mas- 
ter, Moses said, If a man die, having no 
children, his brother 2 shall marry his 
wife, and raise up seed unto his brother. 

25 Now there were with us seven brethren : 
and the first married and deceased, and 
having no seed left his wife unto his 

26 brother ; in like manner the second also, 

27 and the third, unto the 3 seventh. And 
?8 after them all the woman died. In the 

resurrection therefore whose wife shall 
she be of the seven ? for they all had her. 

29 But Jesus answered and said unto them, 
Ye do err, not knowing the scriptures, 

30 nor the power of God. For in the res- 
urrection they neither marry, nor are 
given in marriage, but are as angels 4 in 

31 heaven. But as touching the resurrec- 
tion of the dead, have ye not read that 
which was spoken unto you by God, say- 

32 ing, I am the God of Abraham, and the 
God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob? 
God is not the God of the dead, but of th« 



Matt. 22 : 33-36.] 



THE PHARISEES SILENCED. 



223 



33. they were astonished at his doctrine] or " teaching." Prob- 
ably the mode of his teaching astonished the multitude more than the sub- 
stance of it, in this case. The majority of the Jews believed in the resurrec- 
tion, as against the Sadducees, so the truth was not new to them ; but the form 
of putting it was new and astonished them. 

Suggestive Applications. — Some Christian people are full of ambition. 
They are full of prejudices. They are conceited. They would forward school, 
church, mission societies and other work by schemes of their own. They 
plot to "get behind" those in authority. They lay a trap to remove some 
successful worker. They undermine his influence. They come with flatter- 
ing compliments. Their proposition has a fair outside ; it has revolution 
within. It means destruction to others ; power to them. In their opinion, 
this or that worker is wrong. The Church is not succeeding under his direc- 
tion. The mission society might have millions for missions, where it has 
thousands. Thus they decoy others to cry for their own advancement. They 
care not a fig for the " tribute " to Csesar. Destroy this popular leader, and 
we will get the rule then. Destroy these " orthodox teachings," then our 
views will have a chance. Such shameful scheming ought to have no place 
among the followers of Christ. It has none except among sham Christians. 

The Pharisees Silenced, vs. 34-4G. Mark 12 : 28-37 ; Luke 20 : 41-44. 
The Temple, Jerusalem, Tuesday, April 4, a.d. 30. 

Analysis. — The Pharisees assemble, v. 34 ; the lawyer's question, v. 35 ; 
the two great commandments, vs. 36-40 ; What think ye of Christ ? vs. 41-46. 

34. Pharisees • . . gathered together] The Pharisees had proceeded 
warily. They had put forward their younger disciples with the Herodians. 
They had been content to let the Sadducees try to ensnare Jesus. Perhaps 
they urged on the latter in their attempt. Now the Sadducees were silenced, 
literally "muzzled" or "gagged." The same Greek word is in v. 12, where 
the guest was " speechless ;" Mark 1 : 25 and Luke 4 : 35, where the demon 
was " silenced ;" Mark 4 : 39, where the storm was turned into a calm, and in 
1 Cor. 9 : 9, where it is forbidden to " muzzle" the ox that treadeth out the corn. 
The Herodians and Sadducees having been baffled, it now seems to the 
Pharisees an opportune time for them to come forward themselves with 
superior wisdom and astuteness. So they now put forward a lawyer, the 
keenest of their number, with 

36. Master, which is the great commandment in the law 2] The 



Common Version. 

33 And when the multitude heard this, 
they were astonished at his doctrine. 

34 V But when the Pharisees had heard 
that he had put the Sadducees to silence, 
they were gathered together. 

35 Then one of them, which was a lawyer, 
asked him a question, tempting him, and 
saying, 

36 Master, which is the great command- 
ment in the law ? 



Revised Version. 

33 living. And when the multitudes heard 
it, they were astonished at his teaching. 

34 But the Pharisees, when they heard 
that he had put the Sadducees to silence, 

35 gathered themselves together. And one 
of them, a lawyer, asked him a question, 

36 trying him, l Master, which is the great 



Or, Teacher 



224 



A COMMENTARY ON THE GOSPEL OF MATTHEW. [Matt. 22:37-42. 



lawyer, among the Jews, was not one versed in the civil code, as with us. 
lie was versed in the Jewish divine law ; hence he resembled our theologian, 
or professor in theology. This question was asked "tempting" or "to try" 
Jesus. But how try him ? This has been variously answered. 1. To as- 
sail his answer on theological grounds, so Meyer. This may be true, but is 
too indefinite. 2. In sincerity to test his wisdom, so Olshausen and Alford. 
But the introduction and the fact that he represented the Pharisees are 
against this view. 3. That if Jesus should cite the first commandment, then 
they would have ground to convict him of blasphemy in claiming or accept- 
ing worship. So Lange ; and to this SchafF inclines as the preferable view. 
It is doubtful whether the Pharisees had reached this yet, though they did 
reach it before the week ended. It is more probable that the aim was to 
force him to declare himself on the question which divided the schools. 
Whichever side he favored, he would surely be denounced by the opposing 
faction, and so the first step toward destroying his popularity with the people 
would be successfully taken. 

38, This is the first and great commandment] The question did not 
imply, What kind of commandment is great ? as Meyer and Plumptre suggest, 
for this does not suit the context. The question went deeper — What is it ? 
that is, How much, and what, does it include ? The answer of Jesus is com- 
plete. The first part of the answer comes from Deut. 6:5; the second from 
Lev. 19 : 18. The books of the Pentateuch, now freely pulled to pieces by 
certain astute critics as if not trustworthy, were authorities to which Jesus 
frequently appealed in proof of some of his most profound teachings. His 
answer was the sum of all the commandments, comprising the first and 
second tables of the law : 1. Supreme love to God. 2. Love thy neighbor 
as thyself. On these two, as on a strong hook, hangeth all the teachings in 
the law and in the prophets. These are fundamental ; all others are expan- 
sions of these principles. 

42. What think ye of Christ ?] Again Jesus turns catechist. Having 
answered all their puzzling questions, and silenced his opponents, he turns 
upon the Pharisees. " What think ye of Christ ?" is a crucial question. 
Jesus was skilled in asking as well as answering questions. The Jews saw 
the drift of the second but not of the first question. So they were at first 
silent. Our answer to this test question determines — 1. Our creed, our the- 



Common Version. 

37 Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love 
the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and 
with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. 

38 This is the first and great comniand- 
ment. 

39 And the second is like unto it, Thou 
shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. 

40 On these two commandments hang all 
the law and the prophets. 

41 J[ While the Pharisees were gathered 
together, Jesus asked them, 

42 Saying, What think ye of Christ? 
whose son is he ? They say unto him, The 
son of David. 



Revised Version. 

37 commandment in the law ? And he said 
unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy 
God with all thy heart, and with all thy 

38 soul, and with all thy mind. This is the 

39 great and first commandment. *And a 
second like unto it is this, Thou shalt 

40 love thy neighbour as thyself. On these 
two commandments hangeth the whole 
law, and the prophets. 

41 Now while the Pharisees were gathered 
together, Jesus asked them a question, 

42 saying, What think ye of the Christ? 
whose son is he? They say unto him, 



1 Or, And a second is like unto it, Thou shalt love etc. 



Matt. 22 : 43-46.] 



THE GODLY AND THE HYPOCRITICAL. 



225 



ology. 2. Our idea of salvation. 3. Our Christian character and experi- 
ence. As the Jews hesitated, Jesus asks, " Whose son is he ?" — the Christ. 
This seemed a simple, harmless question. They answered promptly and cor- 
rectly. But next comes a question which again baffled them as had the 
question about John's baptism, 21 : 25-27. 

43. How then doth David in [the] Spirit call him Lord] The citation 
following is from Ps. 110 : 1. This is proof — 1. That David was the writer of 
the Psalm ; though Meyer rashly asserts that this is impossible. 2. That in 
thus writing it, he was under the inspiration of the Spirit. 3. That it re- 
ferred to the Messiah. " Jehovah said unto my Lord," etc., brings out the dis- 
tinction in stronger light. How then is he David's son ? This the Pharisees 
could not understand. It was perceived later by Peter, Acts 2 : 25, and fully 
answered by Paul when writing to the Romans, Rom. 1 : 3-4. All further 
attempts to ask cavilling and crafty questions of Jesus ceased. The wily 
plotters were caught in their own trap. The wordy snares set for Jesus he 
had sprung upon the deceitful questioners. The people marvelled, and more 
strongly than ever were won to the support of this new teacher. So his 
opponents dare not ask further questions, for fear of worse discomfiture. But 
they could not so easily escape. In a short hour or two he was to pronounce 
woes upon them. 

Suggestive Applications. — 1. Supreme love to God is man's first duty. 
2. Love to his neighbor springs from this and is coupled with it. 3. The law 
is love, and love fulfills the law. 4. Faith comes to an end in fruition ; but 
love never fails, never ends. Love is the grace that endures. 5. What do 
you think of Christ ? 6. Whose son is he ? What is his character ? What 
is his work for you? 7. What is Christ to you ? A teacher? an example? 
a miracle worker? a prophet? a priest? a King? Or is he besides all these 
a divine Saviour? 



Chap. XXIII. The Godly and the Hypocritical, vs. 1-39. 

Analysis. — The scribes and Pharisees' commands approved, their example 
condemned, vs. 1-7 ; not to be called Rabbi or leader, vs. 8-12 ; the seven 
woes (eight including v. 14) against the scribes and Pharisees, vs. 13-33 ; 
wicked treatment of God's messengers, vs. 34-36 ; lament over Jerusalem, 
vs. 37-39. 

This discourse is given by Matthew only, though portions are found in 



Common Version. 

43 He saith unto them, How then doth 
David in spirit call him Lord, saying, 

44 The Lord said unto my Lord, Sit thou 
on my right hand, till I make thine enemies 
thy footstool ? 

45 If David then call him Lord, how is he 
his son? 

46 And no man was ahle to answer him a 
word, neither durst any man from that day 
forth ask him any more questions. 



15 



Revised Version. 

43 The son of David. He saith unto them. 
How then doth David in the Spirit call 
him Lord, saying, 

44 The Lord said unto my Lord, 
Sit thou on my right hand, 

Till I put thine enemies underneath thy 
feet? 

45 If David then calleth him Lord, how is 

46 he his son? And no one was able to 
answer him a word, neither durst any 
man from that day forth ask him any 
more questions. 



226 



A COMMENTARY ON THE GOSPEL OF MATTHEW. [Matt. 23 : 1-5. 



Mark 12 : 38-40 and Luke 20 : 45-47, and similar words were spoken earlier, 
Luke 11 : 37-52 ; 13:31-35. 

Beware of the example of the Pharisees (23 : 1-12). 

1. spake Jesus to the multitude] This discourse to the multitude and 
to his disciples closed the public teaching of Jesus. Notice that it was 
spoken not to his disciples only. This will be a key to the right interpreta- 
tion of some portions of the discourse. 

2. sit in Moses' seat] The scribes and Pharisees were the official inter- 
preters of the law. Moses gave the law ; they as his official successors ex- 
plained it. Sitting was the usual posture of teachers. 

3. whatsoever they hid you ohserve • . • do] That is (1) whatever 
in their official character they command you ; (2) whatever they bid you 
from the law of Moses, that do. This would not include their tradition. In 
either case official position and authority are to be respected, even when the 
personal character and conduct of the officer are to be censured. A minis- 
ter's official position and teaching are to be regarded, even though he is 
not a perfect example of the truth he proclaims. Some, like the old Phari- 
sees, say and do not. Follow their teaching rather than their example. 

4. For they hind heavy hurdens] How heavy they made the laws we 
know from the writings of the rabbins. They exalted tradition above the 
law. They introduced formalism in worship. What was light under the 
law was made grievous under tradition. The two great schools of the rab- 
bins held that when there had been any increase of burden introduced it 
must be continued. The schools also disputed on the most trivial and hair- 
splitting questions, so that conscientious persons were often in great perplex- 
ity about the right. As an instance of the absurd lengths to which they 
would go, the two schools had a controversy upon whether it was lawful to 
kill a louse on the Sabbath. They laid these heavy burdens even in trivial 
matters on men's shoulders, but did not lift a finger toward lightening or 
moving them. Once on, by their rule they must remain. 

5. make broad their phylacteries] There were two kinds of phylac- 
teries, one worn on the forehead, the other on the left arm. The first kind 
were small leathern boxes, an inch or an inch and a half square, within which 
were inclosed four pieces of parchment, on which were written (1) Ex. 12 : 
2-10; (2) Ex. 13:11-21; (3) Deut. 6:4-9; (4) Deut. 11:18-21. On the 



Common Version. 

CHAP. XXIII.— Then spake Jesus to the 
multitude, and to his disciples, 

2 Saying, The scribes and the Pharisees 
sit in Moses' seat : 

3 All therefore whatsoever they bid you 
observe, that observe and do ; but do not ye 
after their works: for they say, and do not. 

4 For they bind heavy burdens and griev- 
ous to be borne, and lay them on men's shoul- 
ders ; but they themselves will not move them 
with one of their fingers. 

5 But all their works they do for to be seen 
of men : they make broad their phylacteries, 
and enlarge the borders of their garments, 



Kevised Version. 

23 Then spake Jesus to the multitudes 

2 and to his disciples, saying, The scribes 

3 and the Pharisees sit on Moses' seat : all 
things therefore whatsoever they bid 
you, these do and observe : but do not ye 
after their works ; for they say, and do 

4 not. Yea, they bind heavy burdens 1 and 
grievous to be borne, and lay them on 
men's shoulders; but they themselves 
will not move them with their finger. 

5 But all their works they do for to be 
seen of men : for they make broad their 
phylacteries, and enlarge the borders of 



*Many ancient authorities omit and grievous to be borne. 



Matt. 23 : 6-8.] 



THE GODLY AND THE HYPOCRITICAL. 



227 



outside of the box was the Hebrew letter shin $**. This was bound to the 
forehead by a thong or ribbon, and hence called " frontlet," and worn at 
morning and sometimes at evening prayer. The other kind of phylactery 
consisted of two rolls of parchment with an inscription of texts in Hebrew, 
and fastened to the arm. The "borders of their garments" were properly 
the " fringes," and included the " tassels." See Num. 15 : 38. The " fringe" 
was of blue, and as a memorial was worn according to law. Jesus does not 
forbid wearing phylacteries or fringes, but he does forbid broadening and 
enlarging them for show. It was another sign of hypocrisy and of pretence 
to greater piety and faithfulness than others possessed. Jesus himself wore 
the "fringes" or "cloak with the talith," Matt. 9 : 20, but not for display. 

The Greek word for phylacteries primarily signified "defences"; in later 
Greek it designated "amulets" or "charms." The Hebrew term tephillim 
first signified prayers or praise songs. These are still used by the Jews, 
and enclose ejaculations, not formal prayers. They are put on when the 
man is preparing for weekday services in the synagogue, or when he is to 
engage in private prayers as a substitute for public worship. See Mills, 
British Jews. 

6. uppermost rooms] or most honorable places. It was not taking, 
but ambitiously seeking, these positions which is condemned. Some one must 
occupy these first places. Wait to be invited to them, not rush and scheme 
for them. In the time of Christ the Jews had adopted the Roman or Persian 
custom of reclining on couches at the meals. The wide divans or couches were 
on three sides of a table, and were broad enough for a person to recline his 
whole length across them, with his head toward the table. Each couch had 
its place of honor or " uppermost room," " room " being used in its old Eng- 
lish sense of " place." This would be the reclining place next to the host. 
See SchafFs Dictionary of the Bible, article " Eating." The chief seats in 
the synagogue were those at the end toward Jerusalem, usually the eastern 
end of the building. They were commonly assigned to those of great reputa- 
tion for piety. 

7. called . . • Rabbi] That is, " my master," " my teacher." There 
were three degrees, "Rab," "teacher;" "Rabbi," "my teacher;" "Rabban" 
or " Rabboni," " my great teacher." A teacher was not called by his name, 
but by his title. Yet it is a repeated saying of Shemaiah, a predecessor of 
Hillel, "men should love the work, but hate the title, — Rabbi." 

8. be not ye called Rabbi] Ye are not to assume the authority of the 
teacher; that place is for Jesus only. Ye are all brethren. All ye alike are 
saved by grace. This thought in 20 : 25-28 is here enforced by particular 
examples. What did Jesus mean by forbidding them to be called " Rabbi," 



Common Version. 

6 And love the uppermost rooms at feasts, 
and the chief seats in the synagogues, 

7 And greetings in the markets, and to be 
called of rnen, Rabbi, Rabbi. 

8 But be not ye called Rabbi : for one is 
your Master, even Christ; and all ye are 
brethren. 



Revised Version. 

6 their garments, and love the chief place 
at feasts, and the chief seats in the syn- 

7 agogues, and the salutations in the mar- 
ketplaces, and to be called of men, Rabbi. 

8 But be not ye called Rabbi: for one is 
your teacher, and all ye are brethren. 



228 A COMMENTARY ON THE GOSPEL OF MATTHEW. [Matt. 23 : 9, 10. 

"leader," and forbidding them to call any one "father"? Some, as Barnes 
(who refused the degree) and L. Abbott, say it forbids the acceptance of 
D.D. (Doctor of Divinity) and similar titles. But why not also of "Rev." 
(Reverend), of M.A. (Master of Arts), and B.A. (Bachelor of Arts), and all 
other academic degrees ? Seeking such titles and bestowing or accepting 
them in a vainglorious spirit are unquestionably forbidden. Jesus addressed 
these words not to the disciples alone, but also to the multitude. See v. 1. 
He clearly draws a line between the teaching and the example of those 
appointed to explain the law. The disciples and the multitude were ex- 
horted to follow the former and to avoid the latter. 

Jesus meant (1) that his people should break away from the lordship of 
the Jewish rabbis ; (2) that they should recognize him alone as supreme 
" teacher;" (3) that he alone should be the supreme "master" or "leader" 
in his Church. The disciples were not to be called " leaders." Forgetting this 
divided the Church at Corinth, one saying I am of Paul, another, I of A polios, 
and another, I of Cephas, 1 Cor. 1:12; (4) the heavenly Father is the only true 
father of every child in Christ : no one on earth is to be given any such 
spiritual honor by any disciple; (5) all this implies parity of privilege, 
though there are variety and degrees in gifts, graces and opportunities; (6) 
the spirit of these commands is opposed to all pride, self-seeking, vainglory 
and display in Christians. 

It does not mean to forbid, as some say, (1) addressing our parents or the 
aged in terms of respect, as father, mother, etc. Stephen, before the Sanhe- 
drin, began his address, " Brethren and fathers," Acts 7 : 2. Paul began his 
to the Jews in the same words, Acts 22 : 1 ; compare 1 Cor. 4:15; 1 Tim. 1:2; 
Titus 1 : 4. Nor (2) a recognition of various gifts, duties and positions required 
in gospel work. There were " first apostles, secondly prophets, thirdly teach- 
ers, then miracles, then gifts of healings, helps, governments, . . . kinds of 
tongues," 1 Cor. 12 : 28, Revised Version. Compare, also, 1 Cor. 12 : 4-11 ; 14: 
21-25 ; Eph. 4:11; Acts 6:3-5; Heb. 13 : 17 ; Rom. 12 : 6. Nor (3) the desig- 
nation of workers assigned to various kinds and grades of Christian work by 
some name indicating their work. This is abundantly shown by such texts as 
those just cited. The necessity for it is too obvious to require more than a 
statement of it. Nor (4) the recognition of progress in gospel knowledge. 
Paul claims the titles of " preacher," " apostle " and " teacher of the Gen- 
tiles," 1 Tim. 2:7. He made progress in gospel knowledge. The Jewish 
Christians are sharply censured for not having gained sufficient knowledge 
to become teachers, Heb. 5 : 12. Paul calls Peter an "apostle of the circum- 
cision," Gal. 2 : 8, and when his own authority was not fully recognized he 
claims, though with great modesty, to be not a whit behind the chiefest apos- 



Common Version. 



9 And call no man your father upon the 
earth: for one is your Father, which is in 
heaven. 

10 Neither be ye called masters : for one is 
your Master, even Christ. 

i Gr. the heavenly. 



Revised Version. 

9 And call no man your father on the 

earth : for one is your Father, * even he 

10 who is in heaven. Neither be ye called 

masters : for one is your master, even th« 



Matt. 23 : 11-14.] THE SEVEN WOES. 229 

ties, 2 Cor. 12 : 11. Hence (5) academic and such other titles as are proper rec- 
ognitions of progress in Christian knowledge come under a right principle. 
If they are unworthily, inconsiderately or corruptly bestowed, the true way 
is to correct the abuse, not attempt to abolish all distinctions in knowledge. 
Abuse of a good thing does not make the right use of it a sin. These degrees 
and titles are not marks of spiritual domination, but of industrious effort to 
gain biblical knowledge. Those bestowing them ought to be assured before- 
hand by suitable examination, as in case of entering the ministry, or in some 
equally thorough manner, that the qualifications indicated by the title are 
really possessed; and (6) honestly desiring and industriously working to 
possess the best qualifications, knowledge and gifts in Christian work are not 
forbidden. Paul urges the Corinthians to " covet earnestly the best gifts," or 
" desire earnestly the greater gifts " as the Eevised Version reads, 1 Cor. 12 : 
31. Compare 14 : 1. 

11. greatest among' you] See notes on 20 : 24-28. 

The Seven Woes. vs. 13-36. 

13. woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees] These seven woes (eight 
if we count v. 14, not retained in the Revision) were: First woe, on closing 
the kingdom of heaven (woe on oppression of the poor, v. 14). Second woe, 
on sectarian zeal in proselyting. Third woe, on unlawful oaths and vows. 
Fourth woe, on neglecting justice, mercy and faith. Fifth woe, on striving 
for outward, not inward, piety. Sixth woe, on show and hiding corruption. 
Seventh woe, against religious persecution. 

These stern and heavy " woes" are quite as full of sorrow as of indignation. 
They have been contrasted with seven or eight beatitudes of the sermon 
on the mount. The Greek word for hypocrite means literally an " actor," 
one who "acts a part" in a play. Thus it is one who "plays a part," who 
is a " sham," not a real worker. You profess to hold the key to the king- 
dom. Jesus says in effect, You do not open the door for yourselves, and 
you lock it against those who desire to go in. This they did by their tradi- 
tionary and false teaching. 

14. devour widows' houses] This verse is omitted in the Revised 



Common Version. 



Revised Version. 



11 But he that is greatest among you shall 
he your servant. 

12 And whosoever shall exalt himself shall 
he abased ; and he that shall humble him- 
self sball be exalted. 

13 1f But woe unto you, scribes and Phari- 
sees, hypocrites ! for ye shut up the king- 
dom of heaven against men : for ye neither 
go in yourselves, neither suffer ye them that 
are entering to go in. 

14 Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, 
hypocrites! for ye devour widows' houses, 
and for a pretence make long prayer: there- 
fore ye shall receive the greater damnation. 

1 Gr. greater. 2 Or, minister 3 Gr. before. 4 Some authorities insert here, or after v. 12, 
v. 14 Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites ! for ye devour widows' houses, even while 
for a pretence ye make long prayers : therefore ye shall receive greater condemnation. See Mark 
12 : 40 ; Luke 20 : 47. 



11 Christ. But he that is l greatest among 

12 you shall be your 2 servant. And who- 
soever shall exalt himself shall be hum- 
bled ; and whosoever shall humble him- 
self shall be exalted. 

13 But woe unto you, scribes and Phar- 
isees, hypocrites! because ye shut the 
kingdom of heaven 3 against men: for 
ye enter not in yourselves, neither suffer 
ye them that are entering in to enter. 4 



230 



A COMMENTARY ON THE GOSPEL OF MATTHEW. [Matt. 23 : 15-22. 



Version, and is wanting in many old manuscript copies of this Gospel. It 
appears in Mark 12 : 40 and Luke 20 : 47, where it is unquestionably genu- 
ine. The thought it expresses is therefore undoubtedly a part of God's word. 
The " long prayer " may refer to the eighteen prayers which Avere the Phar- 
isees' prescribed standard of devotion. Edersheim cites portions of these 
prayers. See Life and Times of Jesus, vol. i. chap. x. It is bad enough to 
swindle the poor, helpless widow ; but to do it under the cloak of superior 
sanctity is a most heinous sin. 

15. to make one proselyte] "Ye compass," that is, travel about over 
sea and land to secure one " proselyte," one who comes to a " belief"; hence 
a new " convert." In early times Judaism was a non-missionary faith ; but 
in the times of John Hyrcanus, Judaism was forced upon some of the sur- 
rounding peoples by the sword. See 1 Mace. 5 : 65, 66. This spirit of 
proselyting seems to have been strong in the days of Jesus. There were few 
real, but many pretended, conversions. So the converts had all the formalism 
of their faith, with none of its better spiritual principles. Thus they became 
two-fold worse than the native Pharisees themselves. They practiced all 
the worst outward features of the religion, and none of the better inward 
doctrines. They have a representative in modern sectarian zeal, that seeks 
to extend a particular creed more than to promote faith and life in 
Christ. 

16. swear by the gold] It is not easy to see why the Pharisees made 
this distinction. The "gold" cannot refer here simply to what is "corban," 
" devoted," but must include any gold of the temple. The shallowness of this 
reasoning Jesus punctures by a question; and then he further lays open 
their fallacies by direct declarations in vs. 19-22. 



Common Version. 



15 Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, 
hypocrites! for ye compass sea and land to 
make one proselyte ; and when he is made, 
ye make him twofold more the child of hell 
than yourselves. 

16 Woe unto you, ye blind guides, which 16 
say, Whosoever shall swear by the temple, 
it is nothing; but whosoever shall swear by 
the gold of the temple, he is a debtor ! 

17 Ye fools and blind: for whether is 17 
greater, the gold, or the temple that sane 
tifieth the gold ? 

18 And, Whosoever shall swear by the 
altar, it is nothing; but whosoever sweareth 
by the gift that is upon it, he is guilty. '■ 

19 Ye fools and blind: for whether is 
greater, the gift, or the altar that sanctifieth 20 
the gift ? 

20 Whoso therefore shall swear by the 
altar, sweareth by it, and l>y all things 21 
thereon. 

21 And whoso shall swear by the temple, 
sweareth by it, and by him that dwelleth 
therein. 

22 And he that shall swear by heaven, 
sweareth by the throne of God, and by him 
that sitteth thereon. 

1 Gr. Gehenna. 2 Or, sanctuary : as in 



15 



Eevised Version. 

Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, 
hypocrites ! for ye compass sea and land 
to make one proselyte; and when he is 
become so, ye make him twofold more a 
son of l hell than yourselves. 

Woe unto you, ye blind guides, who 
say, Whosoever shall swear by the stem- 
pie, it is nothing; but whosoever shall 
swear by the gold of the 2 temple, he is 3 a 
debtor. Ye fools and blind: for whether 
is greater, the gold, or the 2 temple that 
hath sanctified the gold? And, Whoso- 
ever shall swear by the altar, it is noth- 
ing ; but whosoever shall swear by the 
gift that is upon it, he is 3 a debtor. Ye 
blind : for whether is greater, the gift, or 
the altar that sanctifieth the gift? He 
therefore that sweareth by the altar, 
sweareth by it, and by all things there- 
on. And he that sweareth by the 2 tem- 
ple, sweareth by it, and by him that 
dwelleth therein. And he that sweareth 
by the heaven, sweareth by the throne 
of God, and by him that sitteth thereon. 



v. 35. 8 Or, bound by his oath 



Matt. 23 : 23-26.] THE SEVEN WOES. 231 



23. pay tithe of mint and anise and cummin] Jesus does not con- 
demn the Pharisees for attention to these small matters. He reproves them 
because they knew enough to give attention to these smaller things, and yet 
neglected the more important duties. " Mint," or " sweet smell " as the Greek 
literally means, of several kinds, is common in Palestine. It is allied to 
garden sage. It was one of the herbs which tradition says was eaten at the 
passover. " Anise," a rendering which comes from Tyndale, more accurately 
" dill," has strong sedative properties. " Cummin," belonging to the fennel 
class of herbs, is used as a spice. The seeds are aromatic, are bruised and 
mixed with bread, and used to flavor soups, stews and various dishes common 
in an Oriental meal. See Isa. 28 : 25, 27. The Pharisees were scrupulously 
exact in paying a tenth of all these into the temple treasury. They gave 
tithes, but withheld faith, mercy and righteousness. 

Our Saviour does not condemn them for being careful about these smaller 
matters ; but for placing these smaller things before the weightier ones, so 
that the latter were wholly neglected. They had not only reversed the 
order of doing ; they had given all their thought to minor matters. God 
had not received from them piety, faith, righteousness — the great matters 
of which tithes were merely the type and pledge. 

24. strain at a gnat] Or, " strain out a gnat." The latter reading is 
found in earlier editions of the English Bible, as Tyndale's, Bishop's, and 
now restored in the Revised Version. " Strain at a gnat" may be a printer's 
error in the King James version, continued with singular pertinacity until 
now, though Alford and others dispute this, and suppose it to mean " strain 
(out the wines) at (the occurrence of) a gnat." It seems scarcely probable 
that a printer's blunder in such a book would be retained so long without 
notice. Similar proverbs, illustrating great punctiliousness in little things 
and great oversight of important duties, are common in the East. The 
meaning is, the Jews would strain the wine to avoid a gnat, but would swal- 
low a whole camel, which was also an unclean animal, without a scruple. 

25. the outside of the cup and • • . platter] The cup is strictly a 
side-dish. They would clean the surface of their dishes to avoid any defile- 
ment in eating, but would not hesitate to fill the dishes with the proceeds of 
their extortion, and to eat oftentimes to excess. 

26. cleanse first] Fill the cup and platter with what has been honestly 



Common Version. 

23 Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, 
hypocrites ! for ye pay tithe of mint and 
anise and cummin, and have omitted the 
weightier matters of the law, judgment, 
mercy, and faith : these ought ye to have 
done, and not to leave the other undone. 

24 Ye blind guides, which strain at a gnat, 
and swallow a camel. 



Revised Version. 

23 Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, 
hypocrites! for ye tithe mint and l anise 
and cummin, and have left undone the 
weightier matters of the law, justice, and 
mercy, and faith: but these ye ought to 
have done, and not to have left the other 

24 undone. Ye blind guides, who strain 
out i he trnat, and swallow the camel. 



25 Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, 25 Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, 
hypocrites! for ye make clean the outside hypocrites! for ye cleanse the outside of 
of the cup and of the platter, but within j the cup and of the platter, but within 
they are full of extortion and excess. they are full from extortion and excess. 

26 Thou blind Pharisee, cleanse first that 26 Thou blind Pharisee, cleanse first the in- 

1 Or, dill 



232 



A COMMENTARY ON THE GOSPEL OF MATTHEW. [Matt. 23 : 27-34. 



gained ; make your life pure and righteous ; without this the dishes, though 
they be ever so clean, will not keep you from being defiled. 

27. whited sepulchres] To touch a dead body or a tomb made a Jew 
ceremonially unclean. All the tombs were therefore whitened once a year, 
on the 15th of Adar, — early in our March, — that no one passing need touch 
them. The Pharisees' characters were like these " lime-powdered" tombs, 
white without, but full of foulness within. 

29. tombs of the prophets] The burial-places of the old prophets often 
lay neglected for generations. Then their tombs began to be built. There 
are several public tombs or monuments now about Jerusalem, as the tomb 
of Zachariah, of Jehoshaphat, of Absalom and of Rachel. They "garnish" 
or adorn the tombs of the " righteous," the more " modern saints." Very 
promptly they recognize their sacred character. There seems to be a deli- 
cate contrast in this " build " and " garnish," as also in vs. 30, 31, these acts 
being a testimony against themselves and the nation. 

31. ye are the children] or "sons of them that slew the prophets." 
That is, j*ou partake of their character. You are reproducing now their 
spirit, and about to finish up their evil work. Jesus alluded to their secret 
plots against his life. 

33. serpents, • . . yipers, how can ye escape] The force of these 
words is widely changed by the tones of voice in which we suppose them to 
have been uttered. That they were spoken in the heat of anger we do not 
for a moment imagine. They rather sprang from that deep sorrow, that 
almost unutterable grief, which must have filled the Saviour's heart at the 



Common Version. 

which is within the cup and platter, that the 
outside of them may be clean also. 

27 Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, 
hypocrites! for ye are like unto whited 
sepulchres, which indeed appear beautiful 
outward, but are within full of dead men's 
bones, and of all uncleanness. 

28 Even so ye also outwardly appear right- 
eous unto men, but within ye are full of 
hypocrisy and iniquity. 

29 Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, 
hypocrites! because ye build the tombs of 
the prophets, and garnish the sepulchres of 
the righteous, 

,, 30 And say, If we had been in the days of 
our fathers, we would not have been par- 
takers with them in the blood of the proph- 
ets. 

31 Wherefore ye be witnesses unto your- 
selves, that ye are the children of them 
which killed the prophets. 

32 Fill ye up then the measure of your 
fathers. 

33 Ye serpents, ye generation of vipers, 
how can ye escape the damnation of hell? 

34 ^ Wherefore, behold, I send unto you 
prophets, and wise men, and scribes : and 
some of them ye shall kill and crucify ; and 
some of them shall ye scourge in your syn- 
agogues, and persecute them from city to 
City. 



Eevised Version. 

side of the cup and of the platter, that the 
outside thereof may become clean also. 

27 Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, 
hypocrites! for ye are like unto whited 
sepulchres, which outwardly appear beau- 
tiful, but inwardly are full of dead men's 

28 bones, and of all uncleanness. Even so 
ye also outwardly appear righteous unto 
men, but inwardly ye are full of hypoc- 
risy and iniquity. 

29 Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, 
hypocrites! for ye build the sepulchres 
of the prophets, and garnish the tombs 

30 of the righteous, and say, If we had been 
in the days of our fathers, we should not 
have been partakers with them in the 

31 blood of the prophets. Wherefore ye 
witness to yourselves, that ye are sons 

32 of them that slew the prophets. Fill ye 

33 up then the measure of your fathers. Ye 
serpents, ye offspring of vipers, how shall 

34 ye escape the judgement of 1 hell? There- 
fore, behold, I send unto you prophets, 
and wise men, and scribes : some of them 
shall ye kill and crucify ; and some of 
them shall ye scourge in your syna- 
gogues, and persecute from city to city : 



1 Gr. Gehenna. 



Matt. 23 : 35.] 



THE SEVEN WOES. 



233 



thought of their awful sin. And that grief and sorrow gave a subdued ten- 
derness to his voice and a solemnity to his tone, which we may well believe 
were far more awful and impressive than the most violent denunciation. 
Many kinds of serpents or snakes and vipers abound in Syria. Over thirty 
species, either harmless or poisonous, have been found and described in 
western Palestine alone. The cerastes is a small but deadly viper. Even 
the horse will rear and shake with terror at the sight of it. Another species 
of very poisonous serpents is the hooded cobra, which is now found on the 
plains of Palestine. Of thirty to thirty-five kinds of serpents found in that 
land, six or eight are very poisonous. 

the damnation of hell] Or, " the judgment of hell," R. V. The Greek 
term is Gehenna, a Hebrew word spelled with Greek letters. The question 
is stronger than the direct assertion ; it means, it is impossible to escape. 
This word "Gehenna" originally designated a portion of the valley of Hin- 
nom, where children were burned alive as offerings to the god Moloch. The 
screams of the infants and the lurid fires with the horrid rites made it to the 
Jews a symbol of the place of torment hereafter. The place was made more 
abominable to the Jews later because all refuse of the temple and of the ani- 
mals sacrificed were there burned and the fire kept up continually — a fire 
never quenched. 

35. from the blood of righteous Abel unto . • . Zacharias] This 
declaration begins in v. 34, with " Therefore." See Revised Version. Because 
of this confirmed wicked character of yours, as I send to you prophets and 
wise men, you will crucify and kill some, scourge others and persecute 
them. " I send" is the historical or prophetical present, often used in such 
declarations. A similar declaration in Luke 11 : 49 is introduced by " There- 
fore also said the wisdom of God," as if it might be a quotation. But there 
is no indication of that here, nor can such a passage be found in the Old Tes- 
tament. For a similar passage see the apocryphal book of 2 Esdras 1 : 30-33. 
It is better to assume that Jesus here speaks in his office of prophet, and 
declares the judgment corning upon the Jewish nation for all their rebellious 
acts against God and his messengers. The Abel meant is clearly the son of 
Adam, the first Old Testament martyr. There is a difficulty in regard to 
Zacharias, since the Zechariah of 2 Chron. 24 : 20-23 was the son of Jehoiada. 
He was slain in the court of the Lord's house. There was a Zechariah, the 
son of Berechiah (Zech. 1:1), one of the minor prophets, but of the manner 
of his death neither Scripture nor tradition tells us, unless we suppose it is 
here related. Some suggest that it was a Zechariah son of Baruch named 
by Josephus, or Zechariah the father of John the Baptist, reputed by tradition 
to have been so slain by order of Herod. It is more probable that it refers 
to the Zechariah of 2 Chron. 24 : 20, and that his father or near ancestor 



Common Version. 

35 That upon you may come all the right- 
eous blood shed upon the earth, from the 
blood of righteous Abel unto the blood of 
Zacharias son of Barachias, whom ye slew 
between the temple and the altar. 



Revised Version. 

35 that upon you may come all the right- 
eous blood shed on the earth, from the 
blood of Abel the righteous unto the 
blood of Zachariah son of Barakiah, 
whom ye slew between the sanctuary 



234 



A COMMENTARY ON THE GOSPEL OF MATTHEW. [Matt. 23 : 36-39. 



may have borne the name of Barachias. Our inability to determine this in 
nowise invalidates the statement. Our ignorance is no argument against 
the knowledge of the evangelist or of Jesus. 

36. upon this generation] These were national sins. As such, punish- 
ment would come upon the nation. So one generation in a nation piles up 
guilt for the next. This is true in the operation of natural laws. It is like- 
wise true in God's moral government of nations now. 

Lament over Jerusalem, vs. 37-39. A similar exclamation of sorrow ap- 
pears at an earlier period in the ministry of Jesus. See Luke 13 : 34. 

37. how often would I have gathered] There is a simple pathos in 
this lament which touches every heart. The familiar illustration of a brood 
of helpless chickens under the mother hen's wings may have a deeper sig- 
nificance than appears on the surface. Converts to Judaism were said to 
come under the wings of the Shekinah or cherubim. This thought may be 
included in the figure. Jerusalem is charged with the national sins; is still 
desolate, though 40,000 Jews inhabit it. Representative of the people, her 
unwillingness to come to God was an index of the whole nation's rebellion ; 
her destruction, of the complete ruin of the nation. 

39. Blessed is lie that coineth] This has been understood to refer— 1. To 
the destruction of Jerusalem. 2. To the second coming of Christ. 3. To the 
final restoration and conversion of the Jews. Prophecies of this character 
are sometimes partially fulfilled by one and partially by another succeeding 
event. That is, there is a continued fulfillment in history. It may be true 
of this one that it has a fulfillment in each of these great events, and yet not 
a complete fulfillment in either taken separately. How strikingly vs. 36 and 
38 were fulfilled we learn from the Jewish historian Josephus. His picture 
of the awful sufferings, distress and woe at the siege and fall of Jerusalem is 
too heartrending for strong nerves to read without a shudder. Josephus, 
Wars, bk. vi. See also Farrar's Life of Christ, chap. 52 (close of the chapter). 

Sugoestive Applications.— 1. Even the scribes and Pharisees might 
explain the law : so imperfect men may proclaim the gospel. 2. Jesus com- 
manded the people to do what the Pharisees bade from the law, but not to 
follow their example : so we are to mind the teaching of the gospel rather 
than the example of some teachers. 3. Good laws may be carried out by bad 
judges : we are not to reject the good law, though we should avoid the 



Common Version. 

36 Verily I say unto you, All these things 
shall come upon this generation. 

37 O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, thou that killest 
the prophets, and stonest them which are 
sent unto thee, how often would I have 
gathered thy children together, even as a 
lieu gathereth her chickens under her wings, 
and ye would not ! 

38 Behold, your house is left unto you 
desolate. 

39 For I say unto you, Ye shall not see 
me henceforth, till ye shall say, Blessed is 
he that cometh in the name of the Lord. 



Revised Version. 

36 and the altar. Verily I say unto ycu, 
All these things shall come upon this 
generation. 

37 O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, that killeth 
the prophets, and stoneth them that are 
sent unto her! how often would I have 
gathered thy children together, even as a 
hen gathereth her chickens under her 

38 wings, and ye would not ! Behold, your 

39 house is left unto you x desolate. For I 
say unto you, Ye shall not see me hence- 
forth, till ye shall say, Blessed is he that 
cometh in the name of the Lord. 



1 Some ancient authorities omit desolate. 



Matt. 24.] THE GREAT PREDICTION. 235 

example of a bad judge. 4. Seeking lordships and striving for the first 
positions in the Church of Christ is contrary to a Christ-like spirit. 5. There 
is an equality of privilege, but not of gifts and talents, in the kingdom of 
God. 6. The hypocritical and the pretentious have no place in true re- 
ligion. 7. Using religion as a cloak to indulge in sin calls down the 
severest woe. 8. Show and display in religion exhibit the lack of religion. 
9. National sins sometimes pile up, bringing increased punishment. 10. 
National warnings ought to bring national repentance. 11. In repentance 
and in putting away sin there is safety. 12. Christ's love follows and pleads 
with us in our sin. 13. There will come a time when he will leave the 
sinner to his own desolation. 

Chap. XXIV. The Great Prediction. 24 : 1 to 25 : 46. 

Introduction. — The prophecies and teachings in chapters 24 and 25 were 
spoken to the disciples, Peter, James, John and Andrew. It is hazardous 
to attempt a definite interpretation of prophecy in advance of its fulfillment. 
A portion of this great prediction of Jesus, it is generally conceded, is yet 
unfulfilled. The whole passage is therefore properly regarded as one of the 
most difficult in the New Testament. There are certain outlines of it, how- 
ever, so clear that they need not be misunderstood. 

Notice carefully — 1. The question of the disciples which introduced the 
discourse. Putting together the three accounts by Matthew, Mark and 
Luke, the question was fourfold: (1) When shall these things be? (2) what 
the sign when all these things shall be fulfilled ? (3) the sign of thy coming? 
and (4) of the end of the world, or age? "These things" in the first ques- 
tion clearly refers to the temple and its destruction, mentioned in vs. 1, 2. 

Notice — 2. Our Lord makes a general answer to their questions, rather 
than specific answers. It is a free conversation with four disciples, not a 
formal and orderly discourse. He does not give a complete answer to one 
question and then take up another question for a similar answer, like a 
modern theological professor. Jesus talks with his four chosen disciples of 
the future in a familiar way. He kindly warns them of coming dangers ; 
of great strife and woes; of persecutions; of escapes; of false leaders; tells 
them of a coming of the Son of man ; of the uncertainty of the time ; the 
need of watchfulness ; illustrating all this by parables, and ends the conver- 
sation by a graphic representation of the judgment. 

Notice further — 3. That in this answer our Lord, besides giving warnings 
against being deceived and against allowing persecutions to cool their 
love, 24:4-41, he adds parables which enforce, and show that rewards 
will surely follow, watchfulness and faithfulness in the Lord's service, and 
that the awards in the final judgment will turn upon the love and kindness 
shown to Christ's disciples. 24 : 43 to 25 : 40. 

Notice — 4. That the most difficult portion is thus reduced to less than 
thirty verses: 24 : 14-42. It is further evident that these thirty verses con- 
tain a prediction of the destruction of the temple and of Jerusalem, and of 
a coining of the Son of man. 



236 



A COMMENTARY ON THE GOSPEL OF MATTHEW. [Matt. 24: 1,2. 



5. The explanation of these thirty verses in detail turns chiefly upon the 
meaning given in vs. 27, 28 to the Greek word for "immediately" (evdeus), 
and to the language of vs. 29-31, and to the word "generation" in v. 34. 
Those who limit "generation" to the lifetime of those then living under- 
stand all the passage, 24 : 4-42, to refer to the destruction of Jerusalem or 
the Jewish state, and regard vs. 29-31 as figurative and poetic language. 

Among the views suggested by writers are — 1. That Jesus foretells the 
end of the world, of which the fall of Jerusalem and the destruction of 
the temple were a type : the whole prophecy having a double fulfillment. 
2. That the predictions are divisible: (a) fall of Jerusalem, 4-14; (b) second 
coming of Christ, 15-28 ; (c) end of world, 29-51. Or again : 3. That he 
foretells the fall of Jerusalem, vs. 4—22, and his second advent, vs. 23-31. 
4. That the change from Jerusalem to his advent is made at v. 29, but " im- 
mediately" must be read in view of the statement that with God a thousand 
years are as one day. And 5. That the prophecy is so mingled that it is 
impossible to say which portion refers to Jerusalem or which part to his 
second coming. 

Bearing in mind then, 1, that unfulfilled prophecy cannot safely be ex- 
plained in detail, and 2, that the disciples still had vague ideas concerning 
the kingdom of Christ, Jerusalem, the temple and the Jewish dispensation, 
and 3, that their question related to different events, which seemed to be 
connected in their thought, and lastly, 4, that the answer is a familiar talk, 
the following explanations in detail must suffice. 

Coming of the End. vs. 1-14. Mark 13 : 1-10 ; Luke 21 : 5-19. 
Mount of Olives, Tuesday, April 4, a.d. 30. 

1. Jesus went . • • from the temple] The outward splendor of the 
temple remained, but its glory had departed ; the public teaching of the 
Master of the temple had now closed. His disciples called his attention to 
the magnificence of the building. It was gilded, and when the sun shone 
the dazzling light was so brilliant that it forced those looking upon it to turn 
away their eyes. Then some of the stones were immense, according to Jose- 
phus forty-five cubits long, five high and six broad, or about seventy-five feet 
long by eight feet thick and ten feet wide. To some of these stones the dis- 
ciples appear to have called attention, as if nothing could overthrow such a 
massive building. For plan of the temple, see p. 262. 

2. not be left here one stone upon another] Strong as all these seem 
to you, they will be utterly destroyed. This was literally fulfilled. The 
destruction of the temple is fully given in Milman's History of the Jews, 



Common Version. 

CHAP. XXIV.— And Jesus went out, and 
departed from the temple: and his dis- 
ciples came to him, for to shew him the 
buildings of the temple. 

2 And Jesus said unto them, See ye not all 
these things? verily I say unto you, There 
shall not be left here one stone upon an- 
other, that shall not be thrown down. 



Revised Version. 

24 And Jesus went out from the temple, 
and was going on his way; and his dis- 
ciples came to him to shew him the build- 

2 ings of the temple. But. he answered and 
said unto them, See ye not all these things? 
verily I say unto you, There shall not be 
left here one stone upon another, that 
shall not be thrown down. 



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Matt. 24 : 3-6.J COMING OF THE END. 237 

II. bk. xvi. Its destruction was not a probable thing, even in case of re- 
bellion by the Jews under the Roman yoke. The emperor Titus gave an 
express order to save this magnificent building. A frenzied Roman soldier 
hurled a firebrand through one of the temple windows, which set it on fire. 
The Roman general used every effort to put out the fire, but in vain. It 
was soon one sheet of flame, and then the walls were demolished by order 
of Titus. Josephus narrates the frantic acts of the soldiers, the earnestness 
of Titus to save the temple, and its complete destruction in spite of all the 
Roman commander could do. So the prophecy was fulfilled by Romans, 
who had no regard for Scripture. 

3. sat upon the mount of Olives] Jesus and his disciples appear to 
have gone from the temple, out of the city, across the Kedron, and up the 
side of Olivet. The four disciples, Peter, James, John and Andrew (Mark 
13 : 3), came to him aside as he sat on the mount with the temple and city in 
full view and asked, When shall these things be ? the sign of this coming to 
pass ? the sign of thy coming or presence ? and of the end of the world or age ? 
Compare Mark 13:4 and Luke 21:7. These are not to be taken as four dis- 
tinct questions, but rather as one question of a fourfold character ; the points 
having some undefined but near relation to one another in their minds. The 
Lord's napovaia, presence or coming, seemed to them to have some connection 
with the destruction of the temple and with the end of the world. See 13 : 39. 

4. Take heed] The successive warnings are not a direct but an indirect 
answer to the inquiry of the disciples. The first warning is against false 
Christs. John mentions many in his day, 1 John 2 : 18. They came assum- 
ing the name of Christ. The second thing was war. It was a time of 
peace when Jesus appeared on the earth. Soon after came wars, sieges, 
massacres, and a time of turbulence and trouble. The rumor of war is often 
more distracting and confusing and harrowing to the mind than war. See 
Dr. Schaff 's extended note of his experience previous to the battle of Gettys- 
burg in Lange on Matthew, p. 423. The disciples supposed that when 
the reign of Christ began they would be happy, peaceful and honored. As 
Bengel remarks, " they leave warfare out of the account, and fly all at once 
to the triumph." Jesus aims to correct this mistaken idea. He unfolds in 
a few words a panorama of history, true in every age and in every clime. 

6. the end is not yet] All these false Christs, the contentions among 



Common Version. 

3 f And as he sat upon the mount of 
Olives, the disciples came unto him pri- 
vately, saying, Tell us, when shall these 
things he? and what shall be the sign of thy 
coming, and of the end of the world? 

4 And Jesus answered and said unto them, 
Take heed that no man deceive you. 

5 For many shall come in my name, say- 
ing, I am Christ; and shall deceive many. 

6 And ye shall hear of wars and rumours 
of wars : see that ye be not troubled : for all 
these things must come to pass, but the end 
is not yet. 



Revised Version. 

3 And as he sat on the mount of Olives, 
the disciples came unto him privately, 
saying, Tell us, when shall these things 
be? and what shall be the sign of thy 
1 coming, and of 2 the end of the world? 

4 And Jesus answered and said unto them, 
Take heed that no man lead you astray. 

5 For many shall come in my name, say- 
ing, I am the Christ; and shall lead many 

6 astray. And ye shall hear of wars and 
rumours of wars: see that ye be not 
troubled: for these things must needs 
come to pass; but the end is not yet. 



1 Gr. presence. 2 Or, the consummation of the age 



238 



A COMMENTARY ON THE GOSPEL OF MATTHEW. [Matt. 24:7-13. 



nations, in families, wars and every form of disturbance will come in the natu- 
ral world, and yet the end will not be near. See also Luke 21 : 9. They looked 
for the end, apparently, as soon as Christ should set up his kingdom. This 
was a distinct warning not to look for the end in the near future, but only 
after a long series of historic events. 

9. Then shall they deliver you up] " Then," that is, during the period 
of these historic events, and early in the period. For Luke more definitely 
says, "But before all these," Luke 21 : 12, which must mean that before all 
these other historic events his disciples would suffer severe persecutions. 
Mark records more fully what Jesus said about the coming trials, and how they 
would be enabled to meet them. See my Commentary on Mark, pp. 151-153. 

10. then shall many be offended] or "stumble." This is a true 
picture of Christians in every age. When troubles and persecutions come, 
one begins to blame another for his misfortunes ; fearing their own personal 
safety, some betray their friends, hatred springs up, Christian love grows 
cold, and sin abounds. Many would apostatize from the faith ; the dis- 
ciples were warned against this general tendency to apostasy in times of 
trials. In this history repeats itself a thousand times. Of the afflictions 
which Christians suffered under Roman rule Mr. Lecky gives a thrilling 
description : " We read of Christians bound in chains of red-hot iron, while 
the stench of their half-consumed flesh rose in a suffocating cloud to heaven ; 
of others who were torn to the very bone by shells or hooks of iron ; of holy 
virgins given over to the lust of the gladiator or to the mercies of the 
pander ; of two hundred and twenty-seven converts sent on one occasion to 
the mines, each with the sinews of one leg severed by a red hot iron, and 
with an eye scooped from its socket ; of fires so low that the victims writhed 
for hours in their agonies ; of mingled salt and vinegar poured over the 
flesh that was bleeding from the rack ; of tortures prolonged and varied 
through entire days." — European Morals, i. 497. 

12. iniquity shall abound] "Because iniquite shall have the vpper 
hande," Tyndale's Version reads. The wicked do seem to get the "upper 
hand " and the good get disheartened and give up hope. 

13. he that shall endure unto the end] or, "he that endureth to the 
end." Compare the expression in Luke 21 : 19, " In your patience ye shall 



Common Version. 

7 For nation shall rise against nation, 
and kingdom against kingdom : and there 
shall be famines, and pestilences, and earth- 
quakes, in divers places. 

8 All these are the beginning of sorrows. 

9 Then shall they deliver you up to be 
afflicted, and shall kill you: and ye shall be 
hated of all nations for my name's sake. 

10 And then shall many be offended, and 
shall betray one another, and shall hate one 
another. 

11 And many false prophets shall rise, and 
shall deceive many. 

12 And because iniquity shall abound, the 
love of many shall wax cold. 

13 But he that shall endure unto the end, 
the same shall be saved. 



Revised Version. 

7 For nation shall rise against nation, and 
kingdom against kingdom : and there 
shall be famines and earthquakes in 

8 divers places. But all these things are 

9 the beginning of travail. Then shall 
they deliver you up unto tribulation, 
and shall kill you : and ye shall be hated 
of all the nations for my name's sake. 

10 And then shall many stumble, and shall 
deliver up one another, and shall hate 

11 one another. And many false prophets 
shall arise, and shall lead many astray. 

12 And because iniquity shall be multiplied, 

13 the love of the many shall wax cold. But 
he that endureth to the end, the same 



Matt. 24:14.] COMING OF THE END. 239 

win your souls," as the Revised Version reads. The "end" here is clearly 
not the destruction of Jerusalem nor of the Jewish dispensation, but he 
that endures to the end of his trials, whenever that may come, the same shall 
be saved. It implies that there will be an end of trial, and the attainment 
of a finished salvation free from the contingencies of further trials. 

14. this gospel • . . shall be preached in all the world] Compare 
the reading of the Revised with the Common Version : " The whole inhabited 
earth" here cannot fairly be limited to that portion under Roman rule. Some 
hold that the gospel was preached throughout all the world before the fall 
of Jerusalem. This is true only in a very loose and general sense of that 
portion under Roman dominion. But it cannot be proved that it was 
preached in eastern Asia, China or Japan for example, nor in more than 
the southern portion of Europe and the northern part of Africa, and cer- 
tainly not in America, before the destruction of Jerusalem. Such a com- 
paratively meagre fulfillment of Christ's prediction is insufficient to meet 
what the common reader would infer from this language ; much less would 
it completely satisfy other divine declarations respecting the gospel. Com- 
pare Matt. 28 : 19 ; Isa. 52 : 10 ; Mark 16:15; Luke 24 : 47 ; 1 Cor. 15 : 24-28. 
The more extended sense is more consistent with the context and with the lan- 
guage of the prediction. The preaching is for a " testimony unto all the na- 
tions." Those who limit this to the period before the fall of Jerusalem are 
compelled to interpret the phrase to mean as a testimony against the Jews, and 
against their wickedness in crucifying Christ. That is, according to this view, 
the whole world must be informed of this sin of the Jews, and then Jeru- 
salem can be destroyed. This, as shown before, is unsatisfactory. The gos- 
pel is to be preached as a testimony to all nations, proving that salvation is 
offered ; a testimony ayainst them, if they refuse its offers. Compare Acts 
13 : 46 ; 28 : 28 ; Matt, 21 : 43. Christ does not here say that the gospel will 
be received by all nations, but only that it shall be preached to all nations. 

then shall the end come] What end ? Not merely the fall of Jeru- 
salem, or the end of the Jewish dispensation, but the end of the world, or age. 

Suggestive Applications. — 1. Christ is our great prophet ; this is part 
of his prediction. 2. Even disciples are liable to be deceived and led astray. 
3. Here Christians are in the Church militant, full of troubles, dangers, 
perils and persecutions. 4. False prophets, false teachers and false Christs 
are in the world. 5. Strifes, wars and contentions are certain in human 
society, because good and evil are in the same world, same nation, same 
family, and often struggling for the possession of the same heart. 6. The 
silence of Christ respecting many things in the future is as significant as his 
prophecy. He says nothing to gratify curiosity. 7. His pregnant language 
calls for the exercise of great prudence and great faith. 



Common Version. 

14 And this gospel of the kingdom shall 
he preached in all the world for a witness 
unto all nations ; and then shall the end 
oo me. 



Revised Version. 

14 shall be saved. And l this gospel of the 
kingdom shall be preached in the whole 
2 world for a testimony unto all the na- 
tions; and then shall the end come. 



1 Or, these good tidings 2 Gr. inhabited earth. 



240 



A COMMENTARY ON THE GOSPEL OP MATTHEW. [Matt. 24: 15-1&. 



Signs of the End. vs. 15-22. Mark 13 ; Luke 21. 
Mount of Olives, Tuesday, April 4, a.d. 30. 

15. see the abomination of desolation] Having given the general 
warnings against being deceived or discouraged because of persecution and 
a delay of Christ's coming, Jesus now takes up their first question, relating 
to the fall of Jerusalem and the destruction of the temple; as if he had 
said at the end of this general warning, " When, then — to answer your ques- 
tion — ye see," etc. The " abomination of desolation " has been variously un- 
derstood to refer to (1) the standards of the Roman army, as in Luke 21 : 20 ; 
these were already in Jerusalem, but not in the " holy place" ; (2) the Roman 
eagles, to which sacrifices were offered — this is probable ; (3) the defiling of the 
temple by Zealots ; but in Daniel it refers to idol-worship. We may not know 
precisely what was understood by it. The sign was known to those for whom 
it was intended, for we know from Eusebius that the Christians escaped to 
Pella, in the mountains (see v. 16), before Jerusalem was sacked by the Ro- 
man army under Titus. The last clause of this verse is generally and prop- 
erly regarded as a remark of the evangelist (not of Jesus), for it is not in 
the prophecy quoted. The remark has an important bearing on the date 
of this Gospel, and is a strong argument in support of the belief that it must 
have been written before the fall of Jerusalem. 

17. him which is on the housetop] The eastern housetop in ordi- 
nary weather is the most frequented spot of the house. The roofs were flat, 
with "battlements" or balustrades to prevent persons from falling. Here 
they sat, walked, chatted, worked at light work, or found recreation or re- 
tirement. From the outside, a stairway led to the ground, so that one could 
descend without going down into the house. Those on the housetop were 
to escape with the greatest haste. The danger would be near ; delay would 
be at. the risk of safety. Nothing from the house could be carried away. 
So one in the field would have no time to return to the house for his rai- 
ment. He was to flee at the alarm given by these signs. 

19. woe unto them] or more strictly the thought is " woe for them." 
It is an exclamation of pity and compassion rather than of condemnation. 
Mothers with very young children did suffer untold horrors. See the awful 
picture by Josephus of a woman eating her own child, Jewish War, Bk. VI. 3, 4. 



Common Version. 

15 When ye therefore shall see the abomin- 
ation of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the 
prophet, stand in the holy place, (whoso 
readeth, let him understand.) 

16 Then let them which be in Judea flee 
into the mountains : 

17 Let him which is on the housetop not 
come down to take any thing out of his 
house: 

18 Neither let him which is in the field 
return back to take his clothes. 

19 And woe unto them that are with child, 
and to them that give suck in those days ! 



Revised Version. 

15 When therefore ye see the abomina- 
tion of desolation, which was spoken of 
through Daniel the prophet, standing in 
1 the holy place (let him that readeth un- 

16 derstand), then let them that are in Ju- 

17 dsea flee unto the mountains: let him 
that is on the housetop not go down to 
take out the things that are in his house : 

18 and let him that is in the field not return 

19 back to take his cloke. But woe unto 
them that are with child and to them 



i Or, a holy place 



Matt. 21 : 20-22.] 



SIGNS OF THE END. 



241 



20. neither on the sabbath day] In the winter the poor refugees might 
perish from exposure and hunger. So if compelled to flee on the Sabbath 
they might find gates closed and avenues of escape cut off*. It can scarcely 
refer to any scruples the Jewish Christians might have against travelling on 
the Sabbath in such a terrible time of distress and in order to save their lives. 

21. shall be great tribulation] Josephus, a learned Jew, was an eye- 
witness of the awful sufferings which befell the people of Jerusalem during 
the siege. He would not be inclined to write a fulfillment of Christian 
prophecy. Yet no one can read his graphic description of that siege without 
noting how literally this prophecy came to pass. It would be difficult to find 
a parallel to the awful calamities which came upon that devoted city. Ac- 
cording to Josephus 1,100,000 Jews were slain ; 97,000 taken captive, many 
of whom were cut in pieces or were otherwise tortured to discover the gold 
they were believed to have swallowed. Thousands were destroyed by famine 
and pestilence. " Our city, Jerusalem," he exclaims, " had arrived at a 
higher degree of felicity than any other city under the Roman government, 
and yet at last fell into the sorest of calamities. It appears to me that the 
misfortunes of all men from the beginning of the world, if they be compared 
to those of the Jews, are not so considerable as they were. This makes it 
impossible for me to contain my lamentations." — Pref. Jewish Wars. 

Several coins were struck by the Roman emperors Titus, Vespasian and 
Domitian, in commemoration of the capture and fall of Jerusalem. Three 
coins by Vespasian have been found. On the obverse side of one is a figure 
of a soldier standing guard over a sitting captive. A palm tree stands between 
the two, and beneath are the words " Jud. Capt", that is, Judaea Capta, " Judaea 
captured." The two letters " S. C." also appear on some of the coins, Senatus 
Cousultum, " decree of the Senate." On another the captive has his hands 
tied behind him, and a trophy of arms upon a spear or ensign stands in the 
place of the palm tree. These figures upon the coins strikingly illustrate the 
predictions of Scripture respecting Judah and Jerusalem, " she being desolate 
shall sit upon the ground," Isa. 3 : 26. 

22. for the elect's sake those days shall be shortened] The siege of 
Jerusalem was shortened in several providential ways : 1. The completion of 
the walls was stopped by an order of Claudius, a.d. 42 or 43. 2. The Jews, 
divided by factions, neglected to make preparations for a siege. 3. The pro- 
visions and stores were burned before the arrival of Titus. 4. The sudden com- 
ing of Titus caused the Jews to abandon some of the strongest fortifications. 
5. Josephus says that Titus ascribed the speedy taking of the city to God. It 
cost Nebuchadnezzar a sixteen-months close siege to capture the city. The 



Common Version. 

20 But pray ye that your flight be not in 
the winter, neither on the sabbath day : 

21 For then shall be great tribulation, 
such as was not since the beginning of the 
world to this time, no, nor ever shall be. 

22 And except those days should be short- 
ened, there should no flesh be saved : but 
for the elect's sake those days shall be short- 
ened. 

16 



Revised Version. 

20 that give suck in those days ! And pray 
ye that your flight be not in the winter, 

21 neither on a sabbath : for then shall be 
great tribulation, such as hath not been 
from the beginning of the world until 

22 now, no, nor ever shall be. And except 
those days had been shortened, no flesh 
would have been saved : but for the 
elect's sake those days shall be short- 



242 



A COMMENTARY ON THE GOSPEL OF MATTHEW. [Matt. 24 : 23-28. 



Boinaus took it in less than five months. Jesus says the time was shortened 
for the sake of the " chosen," the remnant of the Jews who had become 
Christians or were truly godly. 

Second Warning against being Deceived, vs. 23-31. 

23. if any man . . . Lo, here is Christ] Jesus had given them a 
general warning against being led astray by false prophets and false Christs. 
He now repeats it. They need not be deceived by any Millerite folly, though 
there might be danger that some true disciples would be misled by such de- 
lusions at that early day. Such pretenders will proclaim the coming of 
Christ here and there with great signs and wonders. But mark these, for " I 
have" plainly told you about them. You need not run into the wilderness 
nor hunt in hidden places for Christ, as those of old hunted for Moses and 
for Elijah. 

27. so shall also the coming of the Son of man be] The irapovoia, 
presence or coming of the Son of man, will be as plain and conspicuous as 
the lightning which fills the heavens. All can see it, and none will doubt 
it. Luke 21 : 24, "Jerusalem shall be trodden down, . . . until the times," 
etc., indicates a long interval between its fall and the end of the world. 

28, wheresoeyer the carcass is] Notice that the connective "For" is 
omitted in the Revised Version, as also in some of the best manuscripts of 
this Gospel. Some interpretations of this proverb may be easily set aside as 
incongruous and fanciful, as — 1. That the carcass means Christ, and the 
eagles his angels and saints ; 2. That where the Jewish people are, there the 
Roman eagles or armies will be gathered ; 3. That where false Christs are, 
there false people will gather. There may be a truth in 2 and 3, but not the 
truth intended by this proverb, which is broader and deeper. See Job 39 : 30. 
Wherever there is corruption, there devouring judgments will gather. Sin 
brings together the vultures of its own destruction and punishment. Com- 
pare Deut. 28 : 49 ; Jer. 6 : 22, 23 ; 48 : 40 ; 49 : 22 ; Lam. 4:19; Hos. 8:1; 
Hab. 1 : 8. For " eagles " read more exactly vultures. The great griffon 
vulture may be included in the word. It is very abundant in Palestine, a 
carrion feeder and a well-known bird of prey. 



Common Version. 

23 Then if any man shall say unto you, 
Lo, here is Christ, or there ; believe it not. 

24 For there shall arise false Christs, and 
false prophets, and shall shew great signs 
and wonders ; insomuch that, if it were pos- 
sible, they shall deceive the very elect. 

25 Behold, I have told you before. 

26 Wherefore if they shall say unto you, 
Behold, he is in the desert; go not forth: 
behold, he is in the secret chambers ; believe 
it not. 

27 For as the lightning cometh out of the 
east, and shineth even unto the west; so 
shall also the coming of the Son of man be. 

28 For wheresoever the carcass is, there 
will the eagles be gathered together, 



Revised Version. 

23 ened. Then if any man shall say unto 
you, Lo, here is the Christ, or, Here; 

24 believe 1 it not. For there shall arise 
false Christs, and false prophets, and 
shall shew great signs and wonders; so 
as to lead astray, if possible, even the 

25 elect. Behold, I have told you before- 

26 hand. If therefore they shall say unto 
you, Behold, he is in the wilderness ; go 
not forth: Behold, he is in the inner 

27 chambers; believe *it not. For as the 
lightning cometh forth from the east, 
and is seen even unto the west; so shall 
be the 3 coming of the Son of man. 

28 Wheresoever the carcase Is, there will 
the 4 eagles be gathered together. 



1 Or, him a Or, them 3 Gr. presence. 4 Or, vultures 



Matt. 24 : 29-31.] SECOND WARNING AGAINST BEING DECEIVED. 



243 



29-81. Immediately after the tribulation] Nearly all the theories 
which attempt to find a definite fulfillment for every detail of this prophecy 
hefore the fall of Jerusalem and end of the Jewish dispensation break down 
here or in the next paragraph. They concede that this is either poetic or 
pictorial language if it represents the fall of a city by Christ sending "his 
angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they shall gather together his 
elect from the four winds." But if this is to be counted poetic language, 
then I cannot see on what principle of interpretation it can be said that the 
language of chap. 25 : 31, and on, is not poetical. Neither there nor here 
has the language any such a setting as to lead the ordinary reader to think 
he is reading poetry. It is the plainest, simplest prose in form and in its 
surroundings. Those who imagine that Christ's talks and conversations 
must be as orderly as a proposition in geometry are often driven to this 
"poetical" theory. His conversations are orderly, but it is the order of 
mental association, not of the rhetorician's logic. He was holding a 
familiar conversation with four intimate disciples. His talk was not in 
enigmatical phrases, nor in the hair-splitting terms of the critic or the 
logician. His friends were of the common people, and he talked for them, 
and through them to the great mass of common people of all generations. 
The obscurity here is just the obscurity that inheres in all unfulfilled 
prophecy. 

Immediately after that period of tribulation mentioned in the first general 
warning, vs. 4-18, and repeated in vs. 24-28, an indefinite period of trial, 
then these signs shall appear. Compare Joel 2 : 31 ; Amos 5 : 20 ; Kev. 6 : 
12-17. Notice how closely the language here resembles that in several pas- 
sages in the book of Eevelation. See 16 : 15-18 ; 19 : 17-19 ; 1:7; 4:5; 
6 : 13, 14, etc. That the portents and events attending the fall of Jerusalem, 
remarkable as they were, fully answer to this majestic and awful description, 
few readers will maintain. Its complete fulfillment is clearly in the future. 
When it comes to pass there will be no dispute or doubt about it. All 
Christ's people will see eye to eye in regard to it. As Jesus elsewhere said, 
1 have told you before it come to pass, that, when it is come to pass, ye might 
believe. John 14 : 29. 



Common Version. 

29 f Immediately after the tribulation of 
those days shall the sun be darkened, and 
the moon shall not give her light, and the 
stars shall fall from heaven, and the powers 
of the heavens shall be shaken: 

30 And then shall appear the sign of the 
Son of man in heaven : and then shall all the 
tribes of the earth mourn, and they shall 
see the Son of man coming in the clouds of 
heaven with power and great glory. 

31 And he shall send his angels with a 
great sound of a trumpet, and they shall 
gather together his elect from the four 
winds, from one end of heaven to the other. 



Revised Version. 

29 But immediately, after the tribulation 
of those days, the sun shall be darkened, 
and the moon shall not give her light, 
and the stars shall fall from heaven, and 
the powers of the heavens shall be shak- 

30 en : and then shall appear the sign of the 
Son of man in heaven: and then shall all 
the tribes of the earth mourn, and they 
shall see the Son of man coming on the 
clouds of heaven with power and great 

31 glory. And he shall send forth his an- 
gels * with 2 a great sound of a trumpet, 
and they shall gather together his elect 
from the four winds, from one end of 
heaven to the other. 



1 Many ancient authorities read ivith a great trumpet, and they shall gather etc. 
* Or, a trumpet of great sound 



211 



A COMMENTARY ON THE GOSPEL OF MATTHEW. [Matt. 24:32-34 



Parable of the Fig Tree. vs. 32-35. 

32. learn a [the] parable of the fig" tree] The disciples were doubt- 
less still debating in their minds about the time when these events would 
take place, and their relation to them. Jesus appears to answer their thought 
by this parable. The fig tree first puts forth its fruit, then the twigs become 
tender, the buds start, the leaves come out, and summer is indeed at hand. 

33. know that it is near] or "that he (or it) is nigh," as the Revised 
Version reads. But to what does "it" or "he" refer? 1. Some, as Lange, 
say the irapovaia and the end of the world. 2. Others, as Grotius, De Wette 
and Meyer, say the Messiah. 3. Still others, the judgment. But Luke says 
definitely "the kingdom of God" is nigh. Luke 21 : 31. Then to what may 
"these things" refer? Manifestly to the same as in vs. 1, 2 and 3. In the 
conversation Jesus reverts to their first question, respecting the destruction 
of the temple, which had given them such surprise. 

34. This generation shall not pass] The interpretation here turns on 
the meaning of "generation." Among the meanings given are — 1. The 
human race, so apparently Jerome. 2. The Jewish nation : Dorner, Stier, 
Alford, Abbott, and substantially Wordsworth and SchafF. 3. The body of 
believers : Origen, Chrysostom, Paulus. 4. Those who know and discern the 
signs : Lange. But this is substantially the same as No. 3. 5. The genera- 
tion then living : Meyer, De Wette, and substantially Luther, Starke, Ger- 
lach and Wesley. 

The Greek word (yeved) for "generation" occurs about forty times in the 
New Testament. In the Common Version it is uniformly rendered " gener- 
ation" in the Gospels ; "time" and " times" twice, in Acts ; twice " ages," in 
Eph. 3 : 5, 21 ; once " nation," in Phil. 2 : 15. But in all these passages the 
Revised Version reads uniformly " generation " or " generations." It cannot 
be denied that in most of these passages the context fairly limits the meaning 
to the " generation " then living. It seems natural to suppose the disciples 
would so understand it, and so undeniably the ordinary reader now accepts 
it. • As the whole conversation has been explained above, there is no diffi- 
culty in this view. See also remarks v. 42. It is not applied to the race ; 
and to say that this foretells the perpetuity of the Jewish nation until the 
end of the world, appears to hide the plain sense and discover obscurity in 
the simplest declaration. To apply it to the body of believers to the end of 
time is also a most unnatural rendering of speech. The common and ordi- 
nary sense has the fewest difficulties and is the best. 



Common Version. 

32 Now learn a parable of the fig tree ; 
When his branch is yet tender, and putteth 
forth leaves, ye know that summer is nigh : 

33 So likewise ye, when ye shall see all 
these things, know that it is near, even at 
the doors. 

34 Verily I say unto you, This generation 
shall not pass, till all these things be ful- 
filled. 



Kevised Version. 

32 Now from the fig tree learn her par- 
able: when her branch is now become 
tender, and putteth forth its leaves, ye 

33 know that the summer is nigh; even so 
ye also, when ye see all these things, 
know ye that !he is nigh, even at the 

34 doors. Verily I say unto you, This gen- 
eration shall not pass away, till all these 



lOr, U 



Matt. 24 : 35-38.] TIME OF THE END NOT REVEALED. 245 



35. Heaven and earth shall pass away] This verse is not in the 
Sinaitic MS., and Teschendorf omits it. It is in the parallel passages of 
Mark and Luke, and hence an unquestioned part of the conversation. This 
verse is put into the form of a maxim or proverb, similar to v. 28. It is 
therefore a general aphorism, applicable to all that Jesus said. It is not a 
part of the parable. The aphorism appears more like a parenthetical re- 
mark ; yet by the law of mental association it leads on to the next thought 
in v. 36. 

Time of the End not Revealed, vs. 36-51. Compare Mark 13 : 22-37 

Luke 17 : 20-37. 

36. of that day and hour knoweth no man] or "no one," "Th<it 
day" or season is here in contrast with "these things" of v. 34. "That 
day," used absolutely, as here, generally refers to the day of judgment, the 
final award. See Matt. 7:22; Luke 10:12; 1 Thess. 5:4; 2 Tim. 1: 12, 
18; 4:8. It is " that day " when heaven and earth shall pass away. Of 
that time no one only the Father knoweth. The Revised Version adds here, 
and Mark 13 : 32 specifies, " neither the Son." See also my Commentary on 
Mark, p. 159. Notice that Jesus does not tell his disciples when the end 
will be, nor "confound the destruction of Jerusalem with the end of the 
world." The attempts of Millerites and others like them to calculate from 
prophecy the precise day when the end of the world will come are contrary 
to the spirit of Christ's solemn words, and utterly vain. 

37. so shall also the coming" of the Son of man be] Here again 
is the Greek word irapovcia, coming, applied to the Son of man. This word 
occurs about twenty-four times in the New Testament. Four or five times 
it refers to the "coming" or "presence" of men; as the "presence" of Paul, 
Phil. 2 : 12 ; 2 Cor. 10 : 10 ; of Titus, 2 Cor. 7 : 6 ; of Stephanus, 1 Cor. 16 : 17. 
But it generally refers to the coming or -presence of Christ. It occurs four 
times in this chapter, vs. 3, 27, 37, 39, but nowhere else in the Gospels. 
Some refer it (1) to an invisible spiritual coming, others (2) to a second 
coming to reign a thousand years with his people, known as the pre-millen- 
arian view, or (3) to his final coming at the end of the world. See 25 : 31. 
At his coming people would be as heedless as when the flood came. Noe is 
the Greek form of Noah, a needless variation in the English, which the 
Revised Version removes. 



Common Version. 

35 Heaven and earth shall pass away, but 
my words shall not pass away. 

36 ^ But of that day and hour knoweth 
no man, no, not the angels of heaven, but 
my Father only. 

37 But as the days of Noe were, so shall 
also the coming of the Son of man be. 

38 For as in the days that were before the 
flood they were eating and drinking, marry 



Revised Version. 

35 things be accomplished. Heaven and 
earth shall pass away, but my words 

36 shall not pass away. But of that day 
and hour knoweth no one, not even the 
angels of heaven, 1 neither the Son, but 

37 the Father only. And as tcere the days 
of Noah, so shall be the 2 coming of the 

38 Son of man. For as in those days which 
were before the flood they were eating 



ins? and giving in marriage, until the day i and drinking, marrying and giving in 

that Noe entered into the ark, marriage, until the day that Noah en- 

1 Many authorities, some ancient, omit neither the Son. 8 Gr. presence. 



246 A COMMENTARY ON THE GOSPEL OF MATTHEW. [Matt. 24:39-42. 

39. knew not] The world would go on eating, drinking, marrying, 
indicating that all their usual social, pleasurable and festal customs would 
be kept up until the very hour of his coming, and hence that day would 
take them by surprise, as the flood took the generation in the time of Noah. 

40. two be in the field] This unquestionably lias reference to the 
separation then to take place. The same truth is repeatedly taught in earlier 
instructions of our Lord, as in the parables of the wheat and the tares, and 
of the drag-net, 13 : 36-52. Compare similar language in Luke 17 : 30-37. 
Though verse 36 is there omitted in the Kevised Version, vs. 34, 35, which 
are retained, present the same thought. 

41. Two . . . grinding at the mill] The mill here named is the 
small hand-mill generally used by women. At present, in the East, the mill 
consists of two small circular stones about two feet in diameter. One stone is 
placed upon the other. The upper stone has a hole in the centre into which 
grain is poured, as in our common flouring-mills. It also has a strong pin 
of wood or of metal at one side, by which the upper stone is whirled around 
on the under one and the grain crushed. This work is usually done by 
women in the East. That one shall be taken and the other left again sets 
forth the sifting process of the judgment. To suppose that it refers to the 
escape of one and the capture of the other by an army is to put a most unnat- 
ural sense upon the words, and strains the meaning of the context. The pre- 
dictions are intended to cover representative cases. In v. 40 the reference is 
to two men ; here it relates to similar representative types in two women. Nor 
is it reasonable to limit it to slaves, as Meyer proposes ; for in fact both slaves 
and free women were very frequently engaged in preparing grain for the 
household by grinding. It usually required two to work the mill, so they 
would be working together, one a believer, the other an unbeliever, hence 
the separation. There arer few mill-streams in Palestine, hence hand-mills 
are a necessity. The phrase and the connection are unlike the warning to 
flee from temporal calamities of vs. 16-18. The older English versions bring 
out the meaning or contrast with greater sharpness : " The one shalbe re- 
ceaved, and the other shalbe refused," says Tyndale ; " left alone," reads the 
Bishops' Bible. 

42. Watch therefore] Why were disciples to watch ? Because no one 
knew when he would come. This thought had been repeated in varied 
phrase and illustration, lastly by the sudden coming of the flood in the days 
of Noah. So would the coming of the Son of man be ; therefore, watch. 

Common Version. Revised Version. 

39 And knew not until the flood came, 39 tered into the ark, and they knew not 
and took them all away ; so shall also the until the flood came, and took them all 
coming of the Son of man be. away; so shall be the * coming of the 

40 Then shall two be in the field; the one 40 Son of man. Then shall two men be in 
shall be taken, and the other left. the field ; one is taken, and one is left : 

41 Two women shall be grinding at. the 41 two women shall be grinding at the mill ; 
mill; the one shall be taken, and the other ! 42 one is taken, and one is left. Watch 
left. therefore: for ye know not on what day 

42 <| Watch therefore ; for ye know not 
what hour your Lord doth come. I 

1 Gr. presence. 



1-3 



P 



&s 



C Q 

* 2 

?0 

C M 



- > 

c 5 



^ 




Matt. 24 : 43-48.] TIME OF THE END NOT REVEALED. 247 



But what coming of the Son of man ? To destroy Jerusalem ? Disciples, 
in that event, did not see or recognize any such coming as is described in 
vs. 29-31, or even in vs. 36-41. They are to watch because destruction or 
judgment will come on all unexpectedly. 

43. if • . . had known ... he would liave watched] At this 
verse Robinson, Owen and others find a transition to predictions and instruc- 
tions relating to the day of judgment. All up to this, in their view, relates 
to the fall of Jerusalem. For difficulties of this view, see notes on vs. 29-31 
and summary at end of this chapter. The "goodman of the house" is 
simply "the master of the house." "Goodman" is probably from the 
Anglo-Saxon gummann, or guma, a man. Paul gives the same thought that 
Christ's coming is as uncertain as that of a robber at night, 1 Thess. 5 : 2. 
Had he known when the thief would come, he would not have allowed his 
house " to be broken up ;" literally, " digged through." See 6 : 19, 20 ; Luke 
12 : 39 ; Mark 2 : 4. The idea seems to be that of a thief getting upon 
the flat roof of the eastern house, perhaps by the outside stairway, and dig- 
ging through the soft earthy covering, and thus entering the house to steal. 
So at an unlooked-for hour Christ will come. How true this is also of 
death ! 

45. Who then is a [the] faithful and wise servant [bond-servant] 
This is meant for all disciples. In the East the steward was a bond-servant, 
or slave. The master selected him because of his fidelity and watchfulness. 
The "steward" or "ruler" over a Roman estate or household had charge 
of the master's property, the payment of wages, the furnishing and distrib- 
uting food and supplies to all the household. The faithful thus found watch- 
ing when Christ comes will be confirmed in their stewardship. Apostles and 
ministers are called "stewards of the mysteries of God," 1 Cor. 4 : 1. Com- 
pare Titus 1 : 7 ; 1 Pet. 4:10. 

48. if that evil servant] In the former instance the servant was 
represented as faithful. Now the servant is "evil" because he neglects to 
be faithful ; and his unfaithfulness springs from his unbelief. He thinks his 
lord will not come, or says mockingly in his heart, He is putting off his 



Common Version. 

43 But know this, that if the goodtnan of 
the house had known in what watch the 
thief would come, he would have watched, 
and would not have suffered his house to he 
broken up. 

44 Therefore be ye also ready: for in such 



Revised Version. 

43 your Lord conieth. iBut know this, that 
if the master of the house had known 
in what watch the thief was coming, be 
would have watched, and would not have 
suffered his house to be 2 broken through. 

44 Therefore be ye also ready: for in an 



an hour as ye think not the Son of man | hour that ye think not the Son of man 



cometh. 

45 Who then is a faithful and wise serv- 
ant, whom his lord hath made ruler over 
his household, to give them meat in due 

season? 



45 cometh. Who then is the faithful and 
wise 3 servant, whom his lord hath set 
over his household, to give them their 

46 food in due season ? Blessed is that 
3 servant, whom his lord when he com- 



4(i Blessed is that servant, whom his lord : 47 eth shall find so doing. Verily I sav 

when he cometh shall find so doing. unto you, that he will set him over all 

47 Verily I say unto you, That he shall | 48 that he hath. But if that evil 8 servant 

make him ruler over all his goods. shall say in his heart, My lord tarrieth ; 

4K But and if that evil servant shall say in j 

his heart, My lord delayeth his coming ; I 

1 Or, But this ye know a Gr. digged through. ' (jr. bondservant. 



248 



A COMMENTARY ON THE GOSPEL OF MATTHEW. [Matt. 24 : 49-51. 



coming. Tyndale quaintly renders, " My master wyll differ his commynge f 
i.e., will put his coming away, or vary it. 

49. shall begin to smite . . . and to eat and drink] He begins 
(1) to abuse his fellow servants, then (2) to drink and riot with the dissolute 
outside whom he makes his companions. 

51. cut him asunder] or "severely scourge him." The Greek word 
means, literally, "to sever," "to cut in two." Tyndale has it "devyd," 
divide him ; Coverdale, Cranmer and Bishops' versions read, " hewe him in 
pieces;" the Genevan version, "cut him off." Evidently severe personal 
punishment is indicated. His portion would be with "hypocrites," whom 
even the rabbins condemn to gehenna or hell. In Luke 12 : 46 his portion 
is " with the unbelievers." He is cut off from God's people and presence for 
his unbelief and unfaithfulness. 

Summary and Review. — In conclusion : vs. 1-3 relate the occasion 
of the conversation and the question of the disciples ; vs. 4-14 are not in 
answer to the question, but a general warning against being led astray ; 
vs. 15-22 foretell the destruction of the temple and of Jerusalem. In vs. 
23-28 again are warnings against being led astray by false Christs and false 
teachers. From these Jesus naturally refers in vs. 29-31 to events attending 
his coming. In vs. 32-34 he illustrates vs. 15-22 by a parable (as if answer- 
ing the thoughts of the disciples still lingering on the first point of their 
inquiry, the destruction of the magnificent temple). Having spoken the 
parable (as it were parenthetically), Jesus proceeds in vs. 36-42 to declare 
the unexpectedness of his coming and of the end, it being unknown by the 
angels and known only by the Father, therefore all are to watch. This need 
of fidelity and watchfulness is enforced by a parable of the master and his 
steward. 

This view is consistent with the nature of such a free conversation, is simple 
rather than subtle, and accepts the obvious and full import of the language in 
every verse. It does not attempt to give any details of the unfulfilled portion 
of the prophecy. It obviates the almost unanswerable difficulties of those 
who hold that the chapter refers to only two things, the fall of the temple 
and of Jerusalem, and the end of the world, and assert (1) with Sherlock 
that there is a clear transition at v. 23, or v. 29 as others say ; or ( 2) with 
Robinson, Owen and others that the transition is at v. 43. While having 
great respect for the profound learning of these distinguished scholars, their 
view here seems untenable, because it requires us to believe the remarkable 
words in vs. 29-31 are poetic word-painting, not to say rhetorical exaggera- 



Common Version. 

49 And shall begin to smite his fellow serv- 
ants, and to eat and drink with the drunken ; 

50 The lord of that servant shall come in 
a day when he looketh not for him, and in 
an hour that he is not aware of, 

51 And shall cut him asunder, and appoint 
him his portion with the hypocrites : there 
shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth. 



Revised Version. 

49 and shall begin to beat his fellow-serv- 
ants, and shall eat and drink with the 

50 drunken; the lord of that x servant shall 
come in a day when he expecteth not, 
and in an hour when he knoweth not, 

51 and shall 2 cut him asunder, and appoint 
his portion with the hypocrites : there 
shall be the weeping and gnashing of 
teeth. 



1 Gr. bondservant. 2 Or, severely scourge him 



Matt. 25.] PARABLE OF THE TEN VIRGINS. 249 

tions. The strongest argument for their view is yeved — " generation " — in v. 
34. But this rests on the inference that " these things " must refer to what 
immediately precedes, instead of referring to the same expression in vs. 2, 3. 
The relation of the thought is clearly to the earlier expression. Nor is 
there any grammatical difficulty in this case. Again, their view compels us 
to regard vs. 29-31 as highly "figurative language" — poetry, not prose — 
imbedded in language without the form of poetry or otherwise appearing as 
other than the plainest prose. This is an insuperable objection to their view. 

The view of Stier, Olshausen, Alford and others who favor pre-millen- 
arianism, and find a double sense running through the chapter, may be fairly 
dismissed with Alford's very sensible remark in the sixth edition of his 
Greek Testament. He says : " I thought it proper to state in the third 
edition that I did not feel by any means that full confidence which I once 
did in the exegesis, quoad prophetical interpretation, given of the three por- 
tions of this chapter 25. ... I very much questioned whether the thorough 
study of Scripture prophecy would not make me more and more distrustful 
of all human systematizing, and less willing to hazard strong assertion on 
any portion of the subject." Every judicious and reverent scholar will cor- 
dially agree with Alford in his distrust of positive interpretations of unful- 
filled prophecy. It is unnecessary to say that the question as to the right 
interpretation of chapters 24 and 25 is quite distinct from the arguments and 
texts urged in favor of and against the doctrine of pre-millenarianism. 

Suggestive Applications. — 1. Christians ought in this world to escape 
from the perils of the wicked. 2. " When death is at our door, delays are 
dangerous." — Henry. 3. We should pray to be delivered from great calami- 
ties. 4. Periods of trial are often shortened for the sake of believers. 5. 
Christ's coming will be unexpected, but manifest to all. 6. Therefore, we 
need not be deceived by false Christs or false teachers. 7. His people will 
be cared for by his angels at his coming. 8. We are to note the signs of his 
coming, and to be cheered by them. 9. We are not to be alarmed by temporal 
calamities ; these must come. 10. Men's unbelief will not stay God's tem- 
poral judgments. 11. "Universal neglect of religion is a more dangerous 
symptom to any people than particular instances here and there of daring 
irreligion." — Henry. 12. Eagerness in pursuit of pleasure, wealth and 
honor is strong evidence that people are heedless of Christ's coming. 13. 
Christ will not put off his coming for men's worldly festivities. 14. There 
will be marvels of grace and of hidden sin in that day. 15. This world is 
full of the merry, the convivial, the drunken, who seem sneeringly to my in 
their hearts, The Lord delays his coming. 16. These will be surprised by 
his coming. 17. The warning word to all — watch. 

Chap. XXV. Parable of the Ten Virgins, vs. 1-13. Given only 

by Matthew. 
Mount of Olives, Tuesday, April 4, a.d. 30. 

This chapter may be grouped in three divisions: (1) The parable of tha 
ten virgins, vs. 1-13. (2) The parable of the talents, vs. 14-30. (3) A 



250 A COMMENTARY ON THE GOSPEL OF MATTHEW. [Matt. 25: 1,2. 

description of the day of judgment, vs. 31-46. These are a continuation and 
conclusion of the conversation with the four disciples, begun in the previous 
chapter. In the first, the main point is to teach watchfulness ; in the second, 
fidelity ; and the lesson of the third portion is to possess the Christ-like spirit 
which will minister to those in distress. 

Those holding the pre-millenarian view, as Stier, Olshausen, Alford and 
others, understand the parables to apply to the period of Christ's second 
coming, before the millennium, and the closing portion to relate to the last 
and final judgment. It is not necessary to discuss the pre-millenarian views 
here. The difficulty of making some inferences sometimes drawn from a 
portion of this chapter is pointed out below. 

1. Then shall the kingdom of heaven be likened] The "then" con- 
nects this parable with the conversation of the preceding chapter. It plainly 
refers to a coming of Christ. Whether the final coming is meant, cannot be 
conclusively decided by the opening words. 

ten virgins, which took their lamps, and went forth to meet the 
bridegroom] The "machinery" or imagery of this parable is peculiarly 
Oriental. It is of the bridegroom when he goes, to give the friends an oppor- 
tunity to bring the bride to his house, so that on his return he may be suit- 
ably welcomed, and go in to meet his bride. So Christ will come to see his 
bride, the Church, in his heavenly home. It is inconsistent with Oriental 
custom for the groom personally to conduct the bride to his home. He leaves 
his home with company long enough for the bride to be brought, and re- 
turns to find her in the woman's room of his house. The pair are regarded 
as "man and wife" after betrothal, though the marriage feast may not take 
place for a year. See notes under 1 : 18, 19. After a period of fasting and 
confession, the marriage feast is celebrated at night. The friends go to 
the house of the bride, to lead her with great pomp and festal music to 
the bridegroom's home, where the feast is held. The bridesmaids, always 
virgins, go forth to meet the bridegroom and accompany him to the feast. 
Lamps are needed, as the procession is at night. The lamps were of the 
ancient pattern, odd-shaped cups filled with oil in which the wick floated, 
an end of the wick projecting above the lamp for lighting. The lamps were 
suspended on sticks (but were not torches, see Edersheim, Life of Jesus, vol. 
ii. p. 455), which might be borne in the hand. 

2. five . . . wise [foolish], and Ave were foolish [wise]] Notice 
that the Kevised Version reverses the order of the Common Version, and is 
preferable, as it accords with the order of vs. 3, 4. The number ten has no 
special significance beyond the fact that it was one of the ideally complete 
numbers of the Jews. Ten formed a company to eat the passover. Where 



Common Version. 



(^HAP. XXV— Then shall the kingdom 
j of heaven he likened unto ten virgins, 
which took their lamps, and went forth to 
meet the bridegroom. 

2 And five of them were wise, and five 
vere foolish. 

1 Or, torches 



Revised Version. 

25 Then shall the kingdom of heaven he 
likened unto ten virgins, thai took their 
1 lamps, and went forth to meet the bride- 

2 groom. And five of them were foolish, 



Matt. 25 : 3-9.] 



PARABLE OF THE TEN VIRGINS. 



251 



there were ten Jews, .a synagogue could be formed. The division of the 
virgins into two companies has its parallel in other teachings. The hearers 
and the doers, 7 : 21-29 ; the rocky-ground hearers, and the good ground, 13 : 
1-8, are instances. 

4. the wise took oil] The main thought with the foolish was to have 
their lamps ; with the wise it was also to have oil with their lamps. 

5. the bridegroom tarried] This is true to life in the East now. 
There are many delays ; those that wait must needs have great patience and 
greater watchfulness. Wearied with waiting, they "slumbered," — literally, 
" nodded," and fell asleep. If ready at call, they need not be blamed. Sq 
Christ delays his coming. His people must take some rest. If they have 
grace, they are ready and furnished for his coming. 

6. at midnight • . • a cry] The joyous company run before the pro- 
cession with the cry, " Behold the bridegroom !" " Cometh " is needless, and 
is omitted by the best texts and by the Revised Version. The cry indicates 
how unexpected the coming of Christ will be. 

7. trimmed their lamps] by clearing the wicks of their burnt por- 
tions, to brighten the light. It would also include adding fresh oil. The 
Romans had a little hook to clear the wicks, instead of the snuffers common 
in the early days of our country. 

9. not enough for lis and you] The foolish virgins, startled from 
sleep, find their lamps "going out," not "gone out" as the Common Ver- 
sion reads. They turn imploringly to the wise for oil. The wise answer 
pityingly and kindly, " Peradventure there will not be enough for us and 
you." "Not so" of the Common Version is in italics, because the received 
Greek text omits their equivalent ; but the best critical texts have it. The 
good have no works or grace to transfer to ot hoi's, as the Romanists errone- 
ously teach. The foolish must buy for themselves. Though grace is without 
money and cannot be bought, yet the sinner must surrender all for it, — in 
that sense pay the price, buy it. Compare buying the field and the pearl in 
13 : 44-46. God only can furnish the grace. 



Common Version. 

3 They that were foolish took their lamps, 
and took no oil with them : 

4 But the wise took oil in their vessels 
with their lamps. 

5 While the bridegroom tarried, they all 
slumbered and slept. 

6 And at midnight there was a cry made, 
Behold, the bridegroom cometh ; go ye out 
to meet him. 

7 Then all those virgins arose, ahd trimmed 
their lamps. 

8 And the foolish said unto the wise, 
(iive us of your oil; for our lamps are gone 
out. 

9 But the wise answered, saying, Not so; 
lest there be not enough for us and you : but 
go ye rather to them that sell, and buy for 
yourselves. 



Revised Version. 

3 and five were wise. For the foolish, 
when they took their 1 lamps, took no 

4 oil with them: but the wise took oil in 

5 their vessels with their 1 lamps. Now 
while the bridegroom tarried, they all 

6 slumbered and slept. But at midnight 
there is a cry, Behold, the bridegroom ! 

7 Come ye forth to meet him. Then all 
those virgins arose, and trimmed their 

8 l lamps. And the foolish said unto the 
wise, Give us of your oil ; for our J lamps 

9 are going out. But the wise answered, 
saying, Peradventure there will not be 
enough for us and you: go ye rather to 
them that, sell, and buy for yourselves. 



1 Or, torches 



252 



A COMMENTARY ON THE GOSPEL OF MATTHEW. [Matt. 25 : 10-13. 



10. the bridegroom came • . . the door was shut] This too is true 
to Oriental custom. When the bridegroom comes, guests who are ready go in 
with him to the feast, and the door is closed. The Christian must have bodily 
rest ; he cannot be always awake, but he can be always ready, furnished with 
grace whenever his Lord may come. The door would be shut to prevent 
interruption from gaping crowds, and to give proper seclusion to the guests 
and undisturbed enjoyment in their festivities. Ward tells of a parallel ex- 
perience at an Oriental wedding. The company waited until near midnight ; 
then the sudden cry, the trimming or lighting of lamps, the springing to a 
place in the procession, — some with lights out, — the march forward, the 
bridegroom carried in the arms of a friend and placed in a superb chair in 
the midst of the throng, the doors at once shut and guarded by soldiers. "I 
and others came, entreated the doorkeepers for admission, but in vain. It 
was too late !" 

11. the other virgins] The foolish ones. It is not said that they now 
had oil in their lamps. It would be of little use now. The procession, when 
lamps and lights were most needed, was over. It is fair to infer that they 
came without fresh oil. As Augustine says, " They came looking for mercy 
when it was time for judgment." 

Lord, Lord, open to us] Notice how similar to the cry of those in 
7 : 22, 23. See also Luke 13 : 25-28. It is clear they had neglected their 
duty, — were not prepared to enter when they should have been. This and 
the next verse makes it very difficult to apply this parable to a second, as 
distinct from the final, coming of Christ, since, according to the usual mil- 
lenarian view, all the virgins represent the Church, the saved who reign the 
thousand years with Christ. But the foolish virgins are denied admittance, 
nor is there any evidence of a second trial or probation and final admittance 
in their case. 

12. I know you not] The lord of the feast does not recognize the 
foolish virgins as bridesmaids or guests. So many who will claim to have 
prophesied in his name, Christ will reject with " I never knew you." Matt. 7 : 
23; Luke 13: 25-27. This certainly points to a final decision and award. 
If this be accepted, then this parable must relate to the final coming of Christ. 
It seems too great a strain on the setting and drift of the whole parable to 
assume this to mean an exclusion from the millennium, and yet an ultimate 
admission to heaven. 

13. Watch therefore] This is the moral — the great lesson — of the par- 



Common Version. 

10 And while they went to buy, the bride- 
groom came; and they that were ready 
went in with him to the marriage : and the 
door was shut. 

11 Afterward came also the other virgins, 
saying, Lord, Lord, open to us. 

12 But he answered and said, Verily I say 
unto you, I know you not. 

13 Watch therefore; for ye know neither 
the day nor the hour wherein the Son of 
man cometh, 



Revised Version. 

10 And while they went away to buy, the 
bridegroom came; and they that were 
ready went in with him to the marriage 

11 feast : and the door was shut. Afterward 
come also the other virgins, saying, Lord, 

12 Lord, open to us. But he answered and 
said, Verily I say unto you, I know you 

13 not. Watch therefore, for ye know not 
the day nor the hour. 



Matt. 25 : 14-16.] 



THE PARABLE OF THE TALENTS. 



263 



able. Be always ready, always furnished with grace, whenever the Lord 
may come. 

Lessons op the Parable. — 1. Be ready for Christ's coming. The mid- 
night cry signifies the unexpected time of his coming; the oil, the grace of 
God or the life of faith ; the five foolish and five wise virgins, the mixed con- 
dition of the Church on earth, as seen in the parable of the tares and the 
wheat ; the delay of the bridegroom, the delay in Christ's coming ; the closed 
door, the lost opportunity and the exclusion from the kingdom. 



The Parable of the Talents, vs. 16-30. Compare the parable of 

the pounds in Luke 19 : 12-27, and that of the porter in Mark 13 : 34. 

Mount Olivet, Tuesday, April 4, a.d. 30. 

The parable of the virgins impressed the duty of watchfulness while 
waiting for the coming of the Lord. Possibly the disciples inferred that 
they would have nothing to do while waiting and watching. Jesus seems 
to discern and to answer that question in their thought, by the parable of 
the talents. They are not to sit in idleness. They must be watching ; they 
must also be working. He pictures the end of the idler, in contrast with the 
reward of the faithful workers. 

14. For ... as a man travelling] Observe that the words "the 
kingdom of heaven is " are in italics, having no equivalents in Greek ; they 
were added by the translators of 1611, to make the sense clear. This par- 
able also gives a natural picture of life in the East. The "servants" were 
slaves. It was common for the master to travel and to entrust his lands to 
be tilled, his goods to be sold, his shop to be kept and his money to be used, 
to his slaves. They were to account for the use of all the master's property 
and for his profit. Those who did well were rewarded ; those who did badly 
were punished. Being slaves, there is no agreement to pay them anything. 

15. live talents . . .two, and . . . one] The Jewish talent of silver 
had 660,000 grains, worth about $1600 ; the talent of gold about $25,000. 
The Attic talent is usually valued at about $1000. The relative only, not the 
absolute, value of the money entrusted to each is of importance in the parable. 
Each man received according to his capacity and opportunities. All gifts 
and possessions are sacred trusts from God. We have no absolute ownership 
in them. 



16. went and traded] 



The slaves could do either of two things in 



Common Version. 

14 J For the kingdom, of heaven is as a man 
travelling into a far country, who called his 
own servants, and delivered unto them his 
goods. 

15 And unto one he gave five talents, to 
another two, and to another one; to every 
man according to his several ability ; and 
straightway took his journey. 

16 Then he that had received the five tal- 
ents went and traded with the same, and 
made them other five talents. 



Revised Version. 

14 For it is as when a man, going into 
another country, called his own * serv- 
ants, and delivered unto them his goods. 

15 And unto one he gave five talents, to 
another two, to another one; to each 
according to his several ability; and he 

16 went on his journey. Straightway he 
that received the five talents went and 
traded with them, and made other five 



1 Gr. bondservants. 



254 



A COMMENTARY ON THE GOSPEL OF MATTHEW. [Matt. 25: 17-23. 



the East: 1, Use the money in trading on account; or, 2. Loan the money 
to money-changers or hankers who would pay interest, and reloan it at a 
higher rate to traders or in farming the revenues of some province. This 
system of "loaning" or "banking" is said to have been started by the Phoe- 
nicians. It was common in the Koman empire at the beginning of the 
Christian era. The slave with the five talents used it directly in trading, 
and doubled it for the benefit of his master. 

18. lie that had received] or "he that received the one." Those 
that had the greatest amounts improved their talents. He who had only 
one neglected to make use of that one. He was indifferent. So men say, 
Yes, religion may be good enough, but it is too much trouble to bother with 
it. Let us live good moral lives, and we can return what God gives us in 
pretty good condition. 

19. After a long time the lord . . . cometh] A suggestion that the 
coming of the Lord would be delayed longer than some of the disciples 
might expect. " The pre-millennial view places this reckoning at the second 
advent, the general judgment occurring later, yet the wicked servant repre- 
sents one who is not of Christ's people." — Schaff. 

20. I have gained . . . five talents] The " besides them " or " upon 
them" is omitted in the Revised Version, not being in the best Greek text, 
but the sense is substantially the same. A similar omission occurs again in 
v. 22. 

21. thou hast been faithful over a few things] This implies that 
disciples will be rewarded in proportion to their diligence and fidelity. The 
reward will consist in increased opportunities for action, in greater spiritual 
possessions and powers. The faithful in a few things in this life will become 
rulers over many things in the reward of the life beyond. Notice, moreover, 
that the award to the one with two talents is in precisely the same words as 
that made to him who had the five talents. 



Common Version. 

17 And likewise he that had received two, 
he also gained other two. 

18 But he that had received one went and 
digged in the earth, and hid his lord's money. 

19 After a long time the lord of those serv- 
ants cometh, and reckoneth with them. 

20 And so he that had received five talents 
came and brought other five talents, saying, 
Lord, thou deliveredst unto me five talents: 
behold, I have gained beside them five tal- 
ents more. 

21 His lord said unto him, Well done, thou 
good and faithful servant: thou hast been 
faithful over a few things, I will make thee 
rider over many things: enter thou into the 
joy of thy lord. 

22 He also that had received two talents 
came and said, Lord, thou deliveredst unto 
me two talents : behold, I have gained two 
other talents beside them. 

23 His lord said unto him, Well done, good 
and faithful servant; thou hast been faith- 
ful over a few things, I will make thee ruler 

I Gr. bondservants. 



Revised Version. 

17 talents. In like manner he also that 

18 received the two gained other two. But 
he that received the one went away and 
digged in the earth, and hid his lord's 

19 money. Now after a long time the lord 
of those ' servants cometh, and maketh a 

20 reckoning with them. And he that re- 
ceived the five talents came and brought 
other five talents, saying, Lord, thou de- 
liveredst unto me five talents: lo, I have 

21 gained other five talents. His lord said 
unto him, Well done, good and faithful 
2 servant : thou hast been faithful over a 
few things, I will set thee over many 
things : enter thou into the joy of thy 

22 lord. And he also that received the two 
talents came and said, Lord, thou deliv- 
eredst unto me two talents : lo, I have 

23 gained other two talents. His lord said 
unto him, Well done, good and faithful 
2 servant ; thou hast been faithful over a 



2 Gr. bondservant. 



Matt. 25 : 24-30.J 



THE PARABLE OF THE TALENTS. 



255 



25. I was afraid, and . . . bid thy talent] J I is insolent speech and 

his pretended fear are put in sharp contrast. Had he possessed real fear 
enough to make him respectful, he would not have brought the sweeping 
accusation against his master. With a heedless air he flings the talent before 
the master. Read the master's answer as questions : " Did you know that I 
reap where I sowed not? And gather where I strewed not?" "Then thou 
oug'htest." etc. This would have been wise, on your own view of the case. 

27. Thou oughtest ... to have put my money to the exchangers] 
or " the bankers." If you were too fearful to trade on your own account, as 
you pretend, and yet knew that I was such an exacting master, then you 
ought to have placed my money with the bankers, that I might have had my 
own with interest. He does not require him to take the risk of trading, nor 
to have the labor of it, but only to do what the commonest slave could do 
and was bound to do, put his master's money with the bankers. 

28. Take • . . the talent from him] Unfaithful, idle, lazy servant, 
he had proved his unworthiness to have even one talent, so it is taken 
from him. This parable pictures what is true in the working of natural law. 
The man who neglects to use any physical, mental or spiritual gift will grad- 
ually find the gift growing less, and soon will lose it. Strength of arm, limb 
or brain is not merely preserved but increased by use, and lost by long-con- 
tinued idleness. So v. 29 states this general law. As the muscle unused 
degenerates and loses its power, so the faculties of the mind long unemployed 
decay. And the graces of our spiritual life grow by exercise, but die by neg- 
lect. This punishment comes in strict accord with natural law, which is 
only another term for God's law. 

80. cast ye the unprofitable servant] So the guest without the wed- 



Common Version. 

over many things: enter thou into the joy 
of thy lord. 

24 Then he which had received the one 
talent came and said, Lord, I knew thee that 
thou art a hard man, reaping where thou 
hast not sown, and gathering where thou 
hast not strewed: 

25 And I was afraid, and went and hid 
thy talent in the earth : lo, there thou hast 
that is thine. 

26 His lord answered and said unto him, 
Ttiou wicked and slothful servant, thou 
knewest that I reap where I sowed not, and 
gather where I have not strewed : 

27 Thou oughtest therefore to have put 
my money to the exchangers, and then at 
my coming I should have received mine 
own with usury. 

28 Take therefore the talent from him, 
and give it unto him which hath ten talents. 

29 For unto every one that hath shall be 
given, and he shall have abundance: but 
from him that hath not shall be taken away 
even that which he hath. 

30 And cast ye the unprofitable servant 
into outer darkness : there shall be weeping 
»nd gnashing of teeth. 



Revised Version. 

few things, I will set thee over many 
things: enter thou into the joy of thy 

24 lord. And he also that had received the 
one talent came and said, Lord, I knew 
thee that thou art a hard man, reaping 
where thou didst not sow, and gathering 

25 where thou didst not scatter: and I was 
afraid, and went away and hid thy talent 
in the earth: lo, thou hast thine own. 

26 But his lord answered and said unto 
him, Thou wicked and slothful l servant, 
thou knewest that I reap where I sowed 
not, and gather where I did not scatter; 

27 thou oughtest therefore to have put my 
money to the bankers, and at my coming 
I should have received back mine own 

28 with interest. Take ye away therefore 
the talent from him, and give it unto 

29 him that hath the ten talents. For unto 
every one that hath shall be given, and 
he shall have abundance: but from him 
that hath not, even that which he hath 

30 shall be taken away. And cast ye out 
the unprofitable * servant into the outer 
darkness: there shall be the weeping and 
gnashing of teeth. 



1 Gr. bondservant. 



256 



A COMMENTARY ON THE GOSPEL OF MATTHEW. [Matt. 25: 31 ,32. 



ding garment, Matt. 22 : 13, the unprofitable servant, 24 : 51, and the workers 
of iniquity, Luke 13 : 27, 28, were condemned. 

Teaching of the Parable. — The parable of the virgins enforces the 
need of watchfulness, this of the talents, the need of working ; that points 
out the danger of a graceless inner life, this of idleness ; in that the virgins 
thought their duty easy, in this the wicked servant pretends his duty was 
too hard ; they imagined the master over-kind, the evil servant counted 
him too severe ; they were too sanguine, he too gloomy and indifferent ; they 
presumed on his kindness, he reviled the master's severity. In the parable 
of the pounds, each servant receives one pound. The nobleman goes to re- 
ceive a kingdom ; has rebellious subjects ; the negligent servant wrapped his 
pound in a napkin ; the enemies are slain. That parable was spoken to the 
multitude, near Jericho, while Jesus was on his way to Jerusalem. This 
parable of the talents was spoken a week later to four disciples, while sitting 
on Mount Olivet. That was intended to teach patience, for he spake it " be- 
cause they thought that the kingdom of God should immediately appear." 
Luke 19 : 11. This of the talents impressed the need of working, of fidelity 
in few things, and the certainty of a righteous reward. There the master is 
a nobleman, here he is a rich man. There the warning is against the idea 
of a speedy coming, here it is against heedless lack of preparedness for that 
coming. 

The Judgment, vs. 31-46. 
Mount Olivet, Tuesday, April 4, a.d. 30. 

This is a description of the judgment. The Son of man is King and 
Judge. It is not a parable, but 'u prophecy. It is a solemn declaration of a 
coming judgment. The figure in vs. 32, 33 is clearly marked by the word 
" as," and gives added strength to the reality of the description. The Judge, 
the characters awarded, and the characters condemned, are all real persons. 
The results are represented as real as they are momentous. 

31. When the Son of man shall come] or, " But when," etc. The Greek 
word for " shall come" is not Trapovcia, from irdpeijui, as in 24 : 3, 27, 37, 39, but 
is eMri, the word used in 24 : 30, 42, 44, 46, 48. He comes to judge. To this 
work Jesus is appointed, John 5 : 22; Acts 17 : 31. He judges God's chosen, 
Eom. 8 : 34 ; 1 Cor. 4 : 4, 5 ; and those who love not God, Rom. 2 : 14-16 ; 2 
Cor. 5 : 10 ; Heb. 9 : 27 ; 2 Pet. 3 : 7 ; 2 Thess. 1:8; Rev. 20 : 12. The de- 
scription of his coming is in almost the same majestic and awful language 
that is used in 24 : 30, 31, which see. 

32. before him shall be gathered all nations] or " all the nations," 



Common Version. 

31 ^ When the Son of man shall come in 
his glory, and all the holy angels with him, 
then shall he sit upon the throne of his 
glory : 

32 And before him shall be gathered all 
nations: and he shall separate them one 
from another, as a shepherd divideth his 
sheep from the goats : 

iGr. 



Revised Version. 

31 But when the Son of man shall come in 
his glory, and all the angels with him, 
then shall he sit on the throne of his 

32 glory: and before him shall be gathered 
all the nations: and he shall separate 
them one from another, as the shepherd 
separateth the sheep from the * goats: 

kids. 



Matt. 25:33.] THE JUDGMENT. 257 

as in the Ee vised Version. Who are meant by " all the nations "? The 
words, (1) some say, mean the Gentile nations, as distinguished from the Jewish 
nation. This is a common but not the exclusive meaning of the phrase in the 
New Testament, Luke 2 : 32 ; Acts 26 : 17 ; Rom. 9 : 24 ; Matt. 10 : 5, where 
the English versions read " Gentiles." This view excludes good and bad 
Jews from this judgment, but there is no intimation of such exclusion, and 
it is contrary to the general tenor of the narrative. (2) Others say they 
mean "all heathen nations," in the sense of all not Christians. This is 
held by some who maintain the pre-millenarian view, as Olshausen, Stier, 
Alford (though in his later years with much misgiving), and Plumptre. 
(3) Still others hold an opposite view, and say the words mean Christians 
only, as Grotius, Meyer and others. But this is not consistent with the 
drift of the entire conversation. (4) The more common view is that the 
words mean " all nations," in the sense of the whole human race, Christians 
and non-Christians, a view favored by Chrysostom, Augustine, De Wette, 
Lange and Schaff, among many others. 

In favor of its reference to the non-chosen or non-Christians only are 
urged the gathering of the elect in 24 : 31, 40, 41 ; the statements in 1 Thess. 
4:16,17; 2 Thess. 1 : 7-10; Rev. 20:2-15, and vs. 37-39 here. But this 
view makes the foolish virgins and the wicked servant reappear in judgment, 
implies that some good in the world remain ignorant of the simplest elements 
of the gospel, vs. 37-39, and forces a meaning upon "all the nations" not 
common in the New Testament. 

The common view that the words include all the human race is not with- 
out some difficulties, as the statement that saints shall judge or rule the 
world, 1 Cor. 6 : 2, etc. ; but the difficulties seem less grave than those in the 
way of other views. The reasons in favor of it are, on the other hand, very 
cogent. For (1) the Greek word edvoq ("nation," "nations") is often used 
in the New Testament in the sense of " all the people," Christian and non- 
Christian. Compare Acts 17 : 26 ; Rev. 5:9; 14 : 6 ; Acts 10 : 35 ; Matt. 
24 : 7 ; Rev. 14 : 8 and 15 : 4, etc. (2) It is confirmed by other Scripture, 
which represents a general judgment. Eccl. 12:14; Acts 17:31; 10:42; 
Rom. 14 : 10. (3) It is the sense the common reader would gain from the 
words and the context. The nations are not to appear as nations. It means 
all men, without exception, are to appear for judgment. 

as a shepherd divideth Ms sheep from the goats] or " separateth the 
sheep from the goats." Sheep are more usually kept on the plains, and 
goats on the rough mountains. The flocks are mixed when gathered for 
shelter. Dr. Post, of Syria, writes : " I have often seen several flocks of sheep 
and goats basking in the sunshine near a fountain, ... or browsing on the 
dry twigs. Presently a shepherd climbs a rock and commences to call his 
sheep. At once they begin to come toward him, passing with unerring in- 
stinct through the other flocks." " The sheep and goats often go together 



Common Version. 

33 And he shall set the sheep on his right 
hand, but the goats on the left. 

17 



Revised Version. 
33 and he shall set the sheep on his right 



258 



A COMMENTARY ON THE GOSPEL OF MATTHEW. [Matt. 25 : 34-40. 



under the same shepherd," says Tristram, " yet they never trespass on the 
domain of each other. . . . When folded at night they may always be seen 
gathered in distinct groups, and so round the wells they appear instinctively 
to classify themselves apart, as they wait for the troughs to be filled." — Nat. 
Hist, of Bible, pp. 89, 90. Sheep are gentle and docile, while goats are wild, 
shy, and usually in mischief in the East. Their different natures and the 
habit of separation by the shepherd make a fitting and forcible figure of the 
separation at the last day. Compare also the parable of the drag-net, 13 : 47-50. 

34. the King say . . . Come] The Son of man is the king now. 
Christ announces and calls forth the blessed. They have been blessed (for the 
Greek word is in the perfect tense) and continue to be blessed. The king- 
dom was designed for them in the counsels of God. It was prepared ; Christ 
went to perfect particular preparations ; to make ready a room for his dis- 
ciples. John 14 : 2, 3. 

35, 36. For, etc.] The award to those on the right hand is grounded 
upon six particulars — (1) giving the King food when hungry ; (2) drink 
when thirsty ; (3) entertaining him as a friend when he was a stranger ; (4) 
clothing him when naked ; (5) visiting him when sick ; (6) coming to him in 
prison. These were among the lowest tests of a Christ-like spirit and char- 
acter. Healing the sick and setting the prisoner free were not required ; 
only the simple act of visiting them. 

37-40. Then shall the rig'hteous] They are addressed not as heathen, 
as unbelievers, but as " righteous." Thus Peter said to the Gentile Cornelius, 
"in every nation he that feareth him [God], and worketh righteousness, is 
accepted with him." Acts 10 : 35. The answer of the righteous is the lan- 
guage of surprise, humility, and surely of sincerity. It must, therefore, be 
the language of those who know only in part. Their acts of love they had 
not thought of as done to Christ. Their fruits, however, had proved their 
character ; the evil do not bring forth good, nor the good, evil. Compare 



Common Version. 

34 Then shall the King say unto them on 
his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my 
Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for 
you from the foundation of the world : 

35 For I was a hungered, and ye gave me 
meat : I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink : 
I was a stranger, and ye took me in : 

36 Naked, and ye clothed me : I was sick, 
and ye visited me : I was in prison, and ye 
came unto me. 

37 Then shall the righteous answer him, 
saying, Lord, when saw we thee a hungered, 
and fed thee ? or thirsty, and gave thee drink ? 

38 When saw we thee a stranger, and took 
thee in ? or naked, and clothed thee t 

39 Or when saw we thee sick, or in prison, 
and came unto thee ? 

40 And the King shall answer and say 
unto them, Verily I say unto you. Inasmuch 
as ye have done it unto one of the least of 
these my brethren, ye have done it unto me. 



Revised Version. 

34 hand, but the * goats on the left. Then 
shall the King say unto them on his 
right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Fa- 
ther, inherit the kingdom prepared for 
you from the foundation of the world : 

35 for I was an hungred, and ye gave me 
meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me 
drink : I was a stranger, and ye took me 

36 in ; naked, and ye clothed me : I was 
sick, and ye visited me : I was in prison, 

37 and ye came unto me. Then shall the 
righteous answer him, saying, Lord, 
when saw we thee an hungred, and fed 
thee? or athirst, and gave thee drink? 

38 And when saw we thee a stranger, and 
took thee in? or naked, and clothed 

39 thee? And when saw we thee sick, or 

40 in prison, and came unto thee? And 
the King shall answer and say unto 
them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch 
as ye did it unto one of these my breth- 
ren, even these least, ye did it unto me. 



i Gr. kids. 



Matt. 25 : 41-44.] THE JUDGMENT. 259 

Christ's words on the mount, 7:16-20. "The service grows out of their 
life. It is as if they had said, 'What else should we do?' There is no self- 
consciousness in the best of it. Especially they cannot realize that he 
whose glory on the throne dazzles, ever stood before them, poor, homeless, 
naked, in fetters." — John Hall. The explanation of the Lord is explicit in 
v. 40. Notice the reading of the Revised Version — •" even these least, ye 
did it unto me." Not works of benevolence and kindness to humanity 
at large, but to some of Christ's followers, are made the ground of reward. 
There are some who will pretend to great works in Christ's name that 
will be finally rejected, as he expressly and solemnly declares in 7 : 21-24. 
Compare Luke 13 : 25, 26. Not the works themselves, but the love and 
the character of which they are the fruit, will be approved. They are 
evidence of faith, new birth, and a Christ-like spirit. This leads us to 
hope that among the heathen there will be some who, not having a personal 
knowledge of Christ, yet may like Cornelius have a longing desire after God 
and righteousness ; and may possess these evidences of a God-like spirit and 
character, which will be revealed at the last day. 

41. Depart from me, ye cursed] As the righteous are to be with the 
Lord, so the wicked are to be exiles driven from his presence. Alford 
aptly calls attention to the " blessed of my Father," v. 34, in contrast with 
" ye cursed," here, but not cursed of my Father. God is the author of salva- 
tion ; man is the author of his own sin, which brings condemnation. The 
"eternal fire" was not prepared for man, but " for the devil and his angels." 
Man was made for holiness, and Christ has provided salvation for the sinner. 
But those who will sin, and will cling to a devilish nature and spirit, must 
share the punishment made for the devil. 

44. Then shall they • • • answer] The wicked in their answer lay em- 
phasis on "thee" and "saw." They had never perceived Christ the King in 
need, when they had not helped him. The wicked do not see that they have 
ever neglected anything. Their eyes are blinded by sin ; they do not see 
that they have sinned. They are not charged with positive activity in evil, 
with persecution, oppression, murder, lying, stealing, lust, dishonesty, or any 
of the common forms of immorality. They neglected works and acts of love 
to God's people. They failed to give even this the lowest evidence of a 
Christ-like character. " By their fruits ye shall know them." 



Common Version. 



41 Then shall he say also unto them on 
the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, 
into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil 
and his angels: 

42 For I was a hungered, and ye gave me 
no meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me no 
drink : 

43 I was a stranger, and ye took me not 
in : naked, and ye clothed me not : sick, and 
in prison, and ye visited me not. 

44 Then shall they also answer him, say- 
ing, Lord, when saw we thee a hungered, or 
athirst, or a stranger, or naked, or sick, or 
in prison, and did not minister unto thee? 

i Or, Depart from me under a curse 



Revised Version. 



41 Then shall he say also unto them on the 
left hand, l Depart from me, ye cursed, 
into the eternal fire which is prepared 

42 for the devil and his angels: for I was 
an hungred, and ye gave me no meat: 
I was thirsty, and ye gave me no drink : 

43 I was a stranger, and ye took me not in ; 
naked, and ye clothed me not ; sick, and 

44 in prison, and ye visited me not. Then 
shall they also answer, saying, Lord, 
when saw we thee an hungred, or 
athirst, or a stoanger, or naked, or sick. 
or in prison, and did not minister unto 



260 



A COMMENTARY ON THE GOSPEL OF MATTHEW. [Matt. 25 : 45, 46. 



40. into everlasting punishment] The rendering of the Kevised Ver- 
sion clearly represents the Greek. The wicked shall have "eternal punish- 
ment," the righteous " eternal life." Whatever idea we may have of the 
strict etymological meaning of the word for " eternal " here, no sane man can 
escape the conclusion that the duration of the punishment of the wicked is 
plainly declared to be equal to the duration of the life of the righteous. If 
the former is ever to have an end, then there will come an end to the life of 
the righteous also. If the " eternal life " means " endless life," then "eternal 
punishment" means " endless punishment." And the word for "punishment" 
does not mean " annihilation " or " unconscious misery," but implies here, as 
usual, "conscious suffering" as a penalty or punishment. The Greek word 
for " eternal " occurs seventy -one times in the New Testament. In sixty-four 
places it refers to the reward of the righteous, to God's existence, law, attri- 
butes, or kingdom. In seven places it refers to the future condition of the 
wicked. Endless life of the righteous is contrasted with the endless misery 
of the wicked. 

Jesus was speaking to four disciples. They were Jews. What did they 
understand by these expressions ? Both the great schools of the Jews, that 
of Shammi and of Hillel, in the time of Christ, believed in endless punishment. 
The perfectly wicked were " immediately written and sealed to Gehenna ;" 
as the perfectly righteous were " immediately written and sealed to eternal 
life." There was a third, an intermediate, class which went " down to Gehin- 
nora" to moan and come up again. But they were expressly distinguished 
from the perfectly wicked whose doom was sealed without revocation. These 
views were held by Jews throughout the first century of the Christian era. 
In the second century there was a marked divergence in rabbinic opinions 
on this subject, but in the third century there was a reaction and return to 
the former view. Dr. Edersheim cites from rabbinic literature a passage 
which he declares " proves beyond the possibility of gainsaying that both the 
great schools ... at the time of Christ . . . held the doctrine of eternal 
[endless] punishment." See Life and Times of Jesus, vol. ii. pp. 792-94. The 
Lord sets this awful scene before us that we may avoid fearful eternal 
misery and strive for blissful eternal joy. 

The Essenes, who at this period were numerous and though a minority 
modified the religious views of the two stronger sects, pushed Jewish thinking 
of that time to extremes. They seemed to consider matter as a source of evil, 
and the body the prison of the soul. They looked on death as a return of the 
spirit to its true sphere, an immortal existence. They were ascetics, sparing 
in diet, and thought celibacy a virtue. They cherished Messianic hopes. 
They practiced community of goods also, as adopted by the first Christian 



Common Version. 

45 Then shall he answer them, saying, 
Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye did 
it not to one of the least of these, ye did it 
not to me. 

46 And these shall go away into everlast- 
ing punishment: but the righteous into life 
eternal. 



Revised Version. 

45 thee? Then shall he answer them, say- 
ing, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as 
ye did it not unto one of these least, ye 

46 did it not unto me. And these shall go 
away into eternal punishment: but the 
righteous into eternal life. 



Matt. 26. J THE CONSPIRACY AND ANOINTING AT BETHANY. 261 

community in Jerusalem. It is clear that the Jews (excepting the Saddu- 
cees, Acts 23 : 8, who were an aristocratic class) held to the belief in the future 
life and the immortality of the soul. Those to whom Jesus spoke would 
therefore understand his words in their literal sense ; and had Jesus not 
intended this, he would have corrected their misapprehension. 

Chap. XXVI. The Conspiracy and Anointing at Bethany, vs. 

1-16. Compare Mark 14 : 1-11 ; Luke 22 : 1-6 ; John 11 : 55 to 12 : 11. 
Bethany and Jerusalem, Saturday night, April 1, and Tuesday night, April 4, a.d. 30. 

Introduction. — The conspiracy of the rulers and their bargain with the 
traitor Judas are now generally supposed to have been on Tuesday night, 
following the conversation on Mount Olivet narrated in chaps. 24, 25. Some, 
as Farrar, Andrews and others, suppose that Judas had two interviews with, 
the rulers, a private one with a few of them on Saturday night after the 
anointing at Bethany, and again on Tuesday night, when the bargain was 
completed. This is possible, but not necessary to harmonize the accounts. 

The anointing at Bethany is now generally assigned by harmonists to Sat- 
urday night, after the arrival from Jericho, and after sunset; hence after 
the Jewish Sabbath had ended. It is mentioned by Matthew (and by Mark 
also) in connection with the treachery of Judas, by a law of mental associa- 
tion. It therefore comes into their narratives parenthetically, and not in the 
order of its occurrence. John gives the time definitely : "six days before the 
passover." John 12:1. For this anointing at Bethany is the same as that 
mentioned in Mark 14 : 3-9 and John 12 : 1-11. The anointing in John 12 : 
1-11 was supposed to be different from that in Matthew and Mark by Origen, 
Chrysostom, Jerome, Theophylact, Osiander, Lightfoot, Wolf and De Wette, 
but their arguments were not strong, and have been refuted and the three 
accounts ably shown to describe the same event and to agree with one another, 
by Robinson, Andrews, Mansel, Cook, Westcott, Schaff, Ellicott and many 
others. See my Commentary on Mark, pp. 161-164. 

This anointing was different, however, from that described in Luke 7 : 
36-50, though erroneously held to be substantially the same by Romanist 
writers and by Chrysostom, Grotius, Schleiermacher, Ewald, Bleek, Keim 
and others of rationalistic tendency. The differences are many and plainly 
marked. This one described by Matthew, Mark and John was at Bethany, 
alter Jesus came from Jericho. It was in the house of Simon the leper. 
Lazarus was at the table; Martha served, and her sister Mary anointed 
Jesus. That in Luke was a year earlier, and soon after the message from 
John Baptist. That anointing was in Galilee, at or near Capernaum, in the 
house of Simon a Pharisee. The anointing was by a woman who was a sin- 
ner. The circumstances, time, place and person are unlike those mentioned 
at Bethanv. 

The Messiah Rejected.— Why did the Jewish rulers break with Jesus? 
They were looking for Messiah; why not accept him? They were quick 
and accurate in replying to Herod the Great when he asked where the Mes- 
siah was to be born ; why were they not as keen to fit their knowledge of the 



262 



A COMMENTARY ON THE GOSPEL OF MATTHEW. [Matt. 26:1-3. 



prophecies to the life and ministry of Jesus ? It has been usual for writers 
to represent that Jesus made the final breach with the nation. But this is 
contrary to the general tone of the Gospel narratives. The rulers of the 
nation made the final breach, and with difficulty persuaded the people to 
support their attack. 

It is worthy of notice that all the leaders in this conspiracy were of the 
chief priests, scribes and elders, with Caiaphas at their head. John indeed 
mentions Pharisees also. Compare Matt. 26 : 3-5, 47, 57 ; Mark 14 : 1, 2, 43, 
53 ; Luke 22 : 2, 47, 54 ; John 18 : 3, 13. Now it is quite evident from a 
careful study of these passages that the Sadducees were leaders in this con- 
spiracy. Caiaphas belonged to this sect, as did also most if not all the ex- 
high priests, and many members of the Sanhedrin. Their Messianic hopes 
were never very prominent, and in many had quite died out. The decided 
teachings of Jesus respecting the future life would arouse their active oppo- 
sition. There were some of the Pharisees' party that would join with them 
from love of their traditions. Thus the conspiracy was strong, and the rulers 
determined to make an end of the new Teacher's mission. 

The public triumphal entry, when he was hailed " Hosanna : Blessed is 
the King of Israel that cometh in the name of the Lord," John 12 : 13, 
strengthened the conspiracy ; for now Herodians, Sadducees and Pharisees 
joined in forming the plot to destroy the wonderful Galilean prophet. Then 
followed the singular succession of attacks, first by the chief priests, Matt. 
21 : 23 ; then by certain of the Pharisees and Herodians combined, Mark 12 : 
13 ; followed by a delegation of Sadducees, Matt. 22 : 23. Hearing that all 
these were silenced, a learned scribe (a teacher, "lawyer" and writer of the 
law) belonging to the sect of Pharisees came with a puzzling question. He 
was soon silenced, on his own confession. After all these artful attempts to 
gain false testimony to condemn him, and after the secret conspiracy, Jesus 
recognized that they had put the national Jewish government against him. 
It was then he denounced woes upon them for their hypocrisy and pros- 
elytism, Matt. 23 : 14-36. 

1. all these sayings] All those recorded in the preceding chapters. 
The words probably point to the whole conversation with his disciples on 
Mount Olivet. 

2. after two days] The day after the next day. If this was Tuesday, 
then the passover would be on Thursday night. Jesus foretells that on that 
passover night he will be betrayed and crucified. 

3. Then assembled] or " were gathered together." Having spoken of 



Common Version. 

CHAP. XXVI.— And it came to pass, when 
Jesus had finished all these sayings, he 
said unto his disciples, 

2 Ye know that alter two days is the feast 
of the passover, and the Son of man is he- 
trayed to he crucified. 

3 Then assembled together the chief 
priests, and the scrihes, and the elders of 
(lie people, unto the palace of the high 
priest, who was called Caiaphas, 



Revised Version. 

26 And it came to pass, when Jesus had 
finished all these words, he said unto his 

2 disciples, Ye know that after two days 
the passover cometh, and the Son of man 

3 is delivered up to he crucified. Then 
were gathered together the chief priests, 
and the elders of the people, unto the 
court of the high priest, who was called 



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MATT. 26:4-7.] THE OONSPIKACY AND ANOINTING AT BETHANY. 263 

the prediction of Jesus concerning his betrayal and crucifixion, Matthew 
naturally mentions that at the moment the prediction was made the rulers 
were together in the "court" (perhaps in the "palace") of the high priest, 
in secret council, plotting the death of Jesus. 

the high priest, who was called Caiaphas] Why this peculiar 
designation of "the high priest, who was called Caiaphas"? Was there 
another popularly recognized by the Jews as also "high priest" and known 
by some other name ? Did that make this peculiar designation necessary ? 
Compare John 18 : 13-24. 

5. Not on the feast] or " not during the feast." The rulers feared a 
tumult during the time of the feast ; that is, during the whole week when 
Jerusalem was filled with crowds of pilgrim Jews at the passover. They 
intended to put off the arrest and execution of Jesus ; but the traitor Judas 
gave them an opportunity to carry out their plan secretly and with a measure 
of safety to themselves. This leads the evangelist to mention the anointing 
as closely connected with the base treachery of Judas. 

6. Now when Jesus was in Bethany, in the house of Simon the 
leper] This does not imply that the anointing was only " two days before the 
passover ;" for it is clearly said " when Jesus was in Bethany," but does not 
say what day it was. It does definitely fix the town and the house. Who this 
Simon was, and what his relations to Martha, Mary and Lazarus were, and 
why the supper was in his house, while Martha served, the evangelists do 
not tell us. We may be sure that Simon, if living and present, was no longer 
a leper. The conjectures are many about the case. Some suppose that he 
was living, and that Jesus had healed him. Others suppose that he was the 
father of Martha, Mary and Lazarus, and was dead, the children still living 
in the paternal home ; and yet others, that Simon was the husband of Martha 
and was dead, she as widow retaining her husband's house, her brother and 
sister residing with her. These are conjectures founded on poor traditions. 
John says, " They made him a supper," 12 : 2. The "they" may fairly imply 
that several friends of Jesus united in providing it, probably as an expression 
of their gratitude for restoring Lazarus to life. In that case a tradition that 
Simon was father or near relation of Lazarus might be accepted. Had he 
been dead, Matthew and Mark would scarcely have spoken of the feast as 
" in the house of Simon the leper." A dead man does not have a house, 
while the designation "a leper" may indicate his former condition. 

7. a woman] John says " Mary," and the context shows clearly that 
he means the sister of Martha and of Lazarus. John 12 : 2, 3. 



Common Version. 

4 And consulted that they might take 
Jesus by subtilty, and kill him. 

5 But they saia, Not on the feast day, lest 
there be an uproar among the people. 

6 If Now when Jesus was in Bethany, in 
the house of Simon the leper, 

7 There came unto him a woman having 
an alabaster box of very precious ointment, 
and poured it on his head, as he sat at meat. 



Revised Version. 

4 Caiaphas; and they took counsel together 
that they might take Jesus by subtilty, 

5 and kill him. But they said, Not during 
the feast, lest a tumult arise among the 
people. 

fi Now when Jesus was in Bethany, in 

7 the house of Simon the leper, there came 

unto him a woman having 'an alabaster 

cruse of exceeding precious ointment, 



1 Or, ujla.sk 



264 



A COMMENTARY ON THE GOSPEL OF MATTHEW. [Matt. 26:8-11. 



poured it 011 his head] So Mark says also ; John says " anointed his 
feet." She no doubt anointed both, as v. 12 and Mark 14:8, " my body," 
imply. This is not a contradiction, for the mention of one does not exclude 
the other. The alabaster flask (not "box") was so named from a place in 
Egypt, where these cruses were made from a mineral like gypsum. The 
cruse or flask was broken, as often now in the East. The nard or ointment 
is mentioned by Pliny, who says a pound of it cost over 400 denarii, or up- 
wards of $60. See Nat. Hist. 12 : 26, 13 : 4. 

8. To what purpose is this waste?] Matthew says "his disciples" 
asked this question; Mark says "some" said it; John says "Judas" asked 
it. Each of these is consistent with the other. Several of the disciples, of 
whom Judas was the most bold and forward, may have said it. The sum 
was then worth a workman's wage for a year ; that is, 300 denarii: a denarius 
was the common pay for a day's labor. 

9. given to the poor] They were more mindful of the poor than of the 
love to their Master just then. The spirit that prompted this reproof is given 
in John 12 : 6. This spirit of covetousness is strong in the human heart in 
all ages. It was, no doubt, latent in the minds of all the disciples. The poor 
are better relieved often by finding employment for them than by free gifts 
that tend to pauperize them. But the poor the disciples could always help ; 
Jesus in person, then only. 

10. she hath wrought a good work] She had done better than she 
knew. It was her only opportunity, but that she did not know. It was for 
Christ's burial, and that she knew not. It was a gift of love without selfish- 
ness, and she scarcely was conscious of that. So the act had a far greater 
value than she knew, as all similar acts of service for Christ, prompted by 
love to him, possess. Giving to Christ, when not for ostentation, but from 
sincere love, is acceptable to him, no matter how great the gift, nor how much 
of a waste it may seem in the eyes of the niggardly and selfish of this world. 

11. ye have the poor always with you] The poor are not to be 
despised or neglected. You will have a lifetime of opportunities to give to 
the poor; but this is the only one you will have to do this service for me. 
I am already devoted to death. She has poured this out to embalm my body. 
The prediction of Jesus in v. 12, that this devotion of Mary would be told 
wherever the gospel should be preached, has been fulfilled to our day. The 
act of love is imbedded in three gospel narratives, and in a portion that is 
probably more frequently read than almost any other. 



Common Version. 

8 But when his disciples saw it, they had 
indignation, saying, To what purpose is this 
waste ? 

9 For this ointment might have been sold 
for much, and given to the poor. 

10 When Jesus understood it, he said unto 
them, Why trouble ye the woman ? for she 
hath wrought a good work upon me. 

11 For ye have the poor always with you; 
but me ye have not always. 



Revised Version. 

and she poured it upon his head, as he 

8 sat at meat. But when the disciples saw 
it, they had indignation, saying, To what 

9 purpose is this waste? For this ointment 
might have been sold for much, and given 

10 to the poor. But Jesus perceiving it said 
unto them, Why trouble ye the woman ? 
for she hath wrought a good work upon 

11 me. For ye have the poor always with 



Matt. 26: 12-16.] THE CONSPIRACY AND ANOINTING AT BETHANY. 



265 



14. one of the twelve, called Judas] Having completed the narrative 
of the anointing at Bethany, which Matthew and Mark connect with the 
treachery of Judas, the evangelist continues the sorrowful story of the bar- 
gain. This introduction of the anointing at Bethany in a parenthesis is 
easily explained by a law of mental association which would put these two 
acts, one of love, the other of treachery, in contrast. It is not necessary to 
suppose that the rebuke at the anointing fired Judas with a sudden impulse 
to betray the Master. He was worldly, ambitious and self-seeking, as well 
as avaricious, yet outwardly decent and respectful to religion and to Jesus. 
His disappointed ambition and the sneers of the rulers led him to be a 
deserter and traitor. Motives and influences not unlike these led Benedict 
Arnold to become a traitor to his country. Both were men of much natural 
ability, of some good and generous impulses, but thoroughly wanting in 
integrity, fidelity and religious principle. 

15. What will ye give me] or " What are you willing to give me, and 
I will deliver him unto you? Then they weighed (literally "placed" or 
" set") to him thirty pieces of silver." Matthew alone mentions the amount, 
"thirty" pieces. They paid him the thirty pieces. See 27 : 3. These were 
probably coins : either the tetrad rachma of Roman coinage, or more probably 
the Jewish shekels, since they debated about putting them in the temple treas- 
ury. This they would not so much as have considered had the pieces been 
the hated Roman coin. The coins were worth about seventy-five cents each. 
This was the price of a common slave. See Ex. 21 : 32, and compare Matt. 
20 : 28, where our Lord says, " The Son of man came ... to minister (liter- 
ally, "to be a slave"), and to give his life a ransom for many." 

16. he sought opportunity to betray him] or "to deliver him;" that 
is, to deliver him in a way that would prevent a tumult of the people. Pie 
soon found it. This evidently hastened the purpose of the rulers. The act 
therefore was not a sudden impulse ; it was a coolly-formed and deliberate 
plan. This much the record places beyond question: 1. Judas sought the 
rulers with intent to deliver up Jesus. 2. He asked "blood money" in pay- 
ment for his treacherous act. 3. He was paid a definite sum — thirty pieces — 
for his work. When it was paid — whether at the time of the bargain, as 
Matthew's record seems to imply, or after the arrest, as the words of Mark 



Common Version. 

12 For in that she hath poured this oint- 
ment on my body, she did it for my burial. 

13 Verily I say unto you, Wheresoever 
this gospel shall be preached in the whole 
world, there shall also this, that this woman 
hath done, be told for a memorial of her. 

14 ff Then one of the twelve, called Judas 
Iscariot, went unto the chief priests, 

15 And said unto them, What will ye give 
me, and I will deliver him unto you? And 
they covenanted with him for thirty pieces 
of silver. 

16 And from that time he sought oppor- 
tunity to betray him. 



1 Gr. cad. 



Revised Version. 

12 you ; but me ye have not always. For 
in that she ] poured this ointment upon 
my body, she did it to prepare me for 

13 burial, verily I say unto you, Where- 
soever 2 this gospel shall be preached in 
the whole world, that also which this 
woman hath done shall be spoken of for 
a memorial of her. 

14 Then one of the twelve, who was called 
Judas Iscariot, went unto the chief priests, 

lf> and said, What are ye willing to give me, 
and I will deliver him unto you? And 
they weighed unto him thirty pieces of 

1G silver. And from that time he sought 
opportunity to deliver him unto them. 



'■ Or, these (jood tidings 



266 A COMMENTARY ON THE GOSPEL OF MATTHEW. [Matt. 26. 

and Luke may suggest, and whether the thirty pieces were the full price, as 
the answer of the priests favors in Matt. 27 : 3, 4, or only an earnest of some 
larger sum — are questions of comparatively small moment. Enough is re- 
corded to show the awful sin of Judas ; nothing is added to gratify oui 
curiosity. 

Suggestive Applications. — 1. There are deceivers, betrayers, traitors, 
in every cause — a Judas among the twelve apostles. 2. Rulers are often 
crafty, designing men, conspiring to destroy the good, who may, in their esti- 
mation, be in their way. 3. Some may want money to make a great display 
of their benevolence. 4. Giving from love to Christ, and not for ostentation, 
is no waste. 5. " To build a larger church or a taller steeple than our neigh- 
bors V is a "waste," and feeds spiritual pride. 6. To build churches, furnish 
Bibles and missionaries and Sunday-schools, from love to Christ and for the 
good of souls, no matter how costly the gift, is to have " wrought a good 
work." 7. The carping spirit is often found among those in churches, mis- 
sion and other societies. It causes much mischief. It is not worth while 
for any one to strive to beat Judas at dividing, betraying or fault-finding in 
a Christian organization. Better leave it, or, better still, repent and publicly 
ask to be forgiven. 8. The poor are always to be helped. Are Christ's 
words a hint that poverty will always be the lot of some ? That communists, 
nihilists, agrarians, who want wealth distributed evenly, that the princely 
liberality of the Peabodys, Coopers, Stones, Slaters and Greens, will never do 
away with poverty and the poor? Will struggles and contests of "labor 
with capital" go on, and "strikes," "lock-outs," "trades-unions," "labor 
associations," all fail to give a competency to some? This is the truth to 
which Christ's words point. Hence " the poor " are to hang as a nightmare 
about the body of society in the fortieth as in the nineteenth century, and so 
on to the end of time. Christianity will ameliorate their condition ; it fails 
to complete a cure only because men fail to be Christians. 

The Passover and the Lord's Supper, vs. 17-35. Mark 14 : 12-31 ; 

Luke 22 : 7-34. 
Jerusalem, Thursday, April 6, a.d. 30. 
Jesus had spent Wednesday probably in quiet retirement at Bethany. 
One of the most difficult questions in this section continues to be, Was this 
passover and supper of our Lord on the 14th Nisan and beginning of the 
15th (that is, after sunset of the 14th), or was it on the 13th Nisan? On 
this question there is yet no sign of agreement among critics and harmonists. 
The first view seems to be attended with the least difficulties, namely, that 
this passover meal was on the 14th Nisan and the evening following it, the 
regular and legal time for eating it. For reasons in detail, see my Com- 
mentary on Mark, pp. 165, 166 ; also Edersheim's Life and Times of Jesus, 
vol. ii. pp. 480-482. The reasons briefly are: (1) Jesus, who came to fulfill 
the law, would be likely to fulfill this important part of it. (2) To have 
had it earlier would have been to anticipate the passover meal. The lamb 
must be slain in the temple (see Deut. 16 : 5, 6), not in one's own dwelling 



Matt. 26:17.] 



THE PASSOVER AND THE LORD'S SUPPER. 



267 



as some suppose, and this act the priests would not be likely to permit before 
the proper time. (3) The accounts of Matthew, Mark and Luke clearly 
point to the 14th Nisan. (4) The account in John, who omits the institution 
of the Lord's Supper, can be shown to harmonize with this view more natu- 
rally than the accounts of the others with the opposing view.* It is agreed 
that Jesus was crucified on Friday, and that he ate the passover meal and 
instituted the supper the night before, that is, Thursday night. Was this 
Thursday the 14th or 13th Nisan ? is the question in dispute. (Dr. Seyffarth, 
however, puts the crucifixion on Thursday, but very few adopt his view.) 

17. the first ... of unleavened bread] The words "day" and 
"feast" are not in the Greek. The feast of unleavened bread lasted seven 
days, from the 15th to the 21st Nisan. Strictly the "passover" means the 
meal of the paschal lamb, appointed "between the two evenings," Ex. 12 : 
6 ; Lev. 23 : 5; Num. 9 : 3, 5. This is understood to mean the close of the 14th 
and beginning of the 15th Nisan. It would be the time between when the 
sun began to decline behind the horizon and when it finally disappeared and 
the first three stars appeared. Then the threefold blast of seven trumpets 
would be sounded. The Jewish day begins and ends with sunset. At sun- 
set of the 14th Nisan the 15th began, and with it the feast of unleavened 
bread. The lamb was selected on the 10th, and slain on the 14th in the 
evening, Ex. 12:3-6. All leaven was removed from every house; labor 
ceased ; a paschal lamb was provided for a household. Ten to twenty persons 
were regarded as a suitable number, since the entire lamb must be eaten. 
So the disciples ask the Master where he wills these preparations to be made. 
Observe the arrangements were made by Peter and John, Luke 22 : 8, the 
place and the plans being unknown to Judas lest the feast and supper be 
broken up by his traitorous act of betrayal. The room in the city would 



Common Version. 

17 f Now the first day of the feast of un- 
leavened bread the disciples came to Jesus, 
saying unto him, Where wilt thou that we 
prepare for thee to eat the passover ? 



Revised Version. 

17 Now on the first day of unleavened 
bread the disciples came to Jesus, saying, 
Where wilt thou that we make ready for 



* The narrative in John is a summary of events clustering about the paschal meal, the 
teachings being the most prominent in the fourth Gospel. The account of Luke is more 
full in some points, and ought to be carefully studied. "It is impossible to imagine any- 
thing more evident," says Edersheim, "than that he [Luke] wishes us to understand 
that Jesus was about to celebrate the ordinary Jewish paschal supper. . . . The designa- 
tion is exactly that of the commencement of the Pascha, which . . . was the 14th Nisan. 
. . . And with this fully agrees the language of the other two synoptists, Matt. 26 : 17-20 
and Mark 14 : 12-17. No ingenuity can explain away these facts. The suggestion that in 
that year the Sanhedrin had postponed the paschal supper from Thursday evening (the 
14th-15th Nisan) to Friday evening (15th-16th Nisan), so as to avoid the Sabbath following 
on the first day of the feast, and tbat the paschal lamb was therefore in that year eaten on 
Friday, the evening of the day on which Jesus was crucified, is an assumption void of all 
support in history or Jewish tradition. Equally untenable is it that Christ had held the 
paschal supper a day in advance of that observed by the rest of the Jewish world,— a sup- 
position not only inconsistent with the plain language of the synoptists, but impossible, 
since the paschal land) could not have been offered in the temple, and therefore no paschal 
supper held, out of the regular time."— Life and Times of Jesus, vol. ii. pp. 481, 482. 



268 



A COMMENTARY ON THE GOSPEL OF MATTHEW. [Matt. 26 : 18-24, 



have been a favorable or " convenient opportunity," had he known the plans 
in advance. 

18. My time is at hand] Not "my time" to eat the passover, and 
hence not the usual time for it, as some infer, but " my time" to suffer, to be 
delivered up. The "man" is more particularly described in Mark and 
Luke as " bearing a pitcher of water," an unusual thing for a man to do, for 
that is regarded as a woman's work in Syria. Hence this would point him 
out plainly to the disciples. It is not necessary to suppose that a previous 
arrangement had been made by Jesus, without the knowledge of his dis- 
ciples, nor that the man was miraculously moved to give a guest-cham- 
ber. This hospitality was accorded to Jewish pilgrims by dwellers in 
Jerusalem. The description of the man and the room shows our Lord's 
supernatural knowledge, and is in harmony with numerous other statements 
respecting his knowledge of the thoughts of men. The disciples found all 
these things as Jesus had said they would. The passover meal was made 
ready. In the evening Jesus with the twelve, including Judas, "sat," or 
" was reclining," and as they were eating, Jesus sorrowfully declared that 
one of the twelve would betray him, or, literally, "shall deliver me up." 
This was doubtless after the strife noted by Luke, and after the washing the 
disciples' feet mentioned by John. 

22. Lord, is it 12] or, "Is it I, Lord?" which is the more natural or- 
der, and follows that in the original. The plain, sad declaration cast a gloom 
over all, and forced the question from each in turn, except Judas, who ap- 
pears to have held a dogged silence until after the further awful declarations 
in vs. 23, 24, when he too was forced to join in the common inquiry. Ob- 
serve he puts his question in a slightly different form, "Is it I, teacher?" 
The others had said " Lord ;" he says " rabbi," or " teacher." The answer, 
" Thou hast said," is a common form of assent in Hebrew and Greek. He 
is then directed to do his work quickly ; but what work the others did not 
know. See John 13 : 28, 29. Following this, it appears probable from John 
13 : 26-31 that Judas went out, and was not present at the institution of the 



Common Version. 

18 And he said, Go into the city to such a 
man, and say unto hira, The Master saith, 
My time is at hand ; I will keep the passover 
at thy house with my disciples. 

19 And the disciples did as Jesus had ap- 
pointed them; and they made ready the 
passover. 

20 Now when the even was come, he sat 
down with the twelve. 

21 And as they did eat, he said, Verily I 
say unto you, that one of you shall betray 
me. 

22 And they were exceeding sorrowful, 
and began every one of them to say unto 
him, Lord, is it I? 

23 And he answered and said, Tie that 
dippeth his hand with me in the dish, the 
same shall betray me. 

24 The Son of man goeth as it is written 
of him: but woe unto that man by whom 



Revised Version. 

18 thee to eat the passover? And he said, 
Go into the city to such a man, and say 
unto him, The * Master saith, My time is 
at hand ; I keep the passover at thy house 

19 with my disciples. And the disciples did 
as Jesus appointed them ; and they made 

20 ready the passover. Now when even was 
come, he was sitting at meat with the 

21 twelve 2 disciples ; and as they were eat- 
ing, he said, Verily I say unto you, that 

22 one of you shall betray me. And they 
were exceeding sorrowful, and began to 
say unto him every one, Is it I, Lord? 

23 And he answered and said, He that 
dipped his hand with me in the dish, 

24 the same shall betray me. The Son of 
man goeth, even as it is written of him: 
but woe unto that man through whom 



1 Or, Teacher 



2 Many authorities, some ancient, omit disciples. 



Matt. 26 : 25-27.] THE PASSOVER AND THE LORD'S SUPPER. 



269 



Lord's Supper. For special reasons for this view see my Commentary on 
Mark, p. 171. 

24. good for that man if lie had not been born] Or, " good were it 
for that man if he had not been born," R. V. The Greek is more emphatic 
in bringing out the personal point of the remark : " Good were it for him if 
he had not been born, that man !" Notice the forceful repetition " that man." 
Judas heard it ; was it not meant to stir his conscience to perceive the enor- 
mity of his crime ? It is said to have been a common proverb among the 
Talmudists, intended to express the perversity of the man's character. He 
would be a beacon for others in the universe. But, alas for him ! the truths 
Jesus taught he resisted ; his heart was hardened. 

20. as they were eating"] The passover meal was a prolonged one, 
taking much time. The usual order was: (1) The guests gathered, and 
after the Persian custom reclined on couches. The couches were on 
three sides of the table. They were wide enough to allow a person to 
recline at full length across them, his head resting on the left hand, and 
the elbow on the table, with the head toward the table. (2) The head 
of the company took the first cup of wine and gave thanks, and the 
cup was drunk, and each washed his hands. (The washing of the dis- 
ciples' feet probably came in here, John 13 : 4-10.) (3) The head one 
dipped bitter herbs in salt water or vinegar, which were eaten. (4) 
All the dishes were removed. (5) The question and explanation of the 
meaning of the feast. (6) The dishes returned to the table. (7) The 
meaning of the lamb, bitter herbs and unleavened bread was explained 
separately. (8) Hallel, Pss. 113, 114, first part, sung, with thanksgiving. 
(9) Second cup drunk. (10) Washing of hands. (11) Prayer again. 
(12) Two cakes eaten, with thanks. (13) Eating "broken cake," with bit- 
ter herbs and charoseth (the sop to Judas). (14) The paschal lamb eaten. 
[During the continuance of Jewish sacrifices nothing was eaten after the 
lamb, but a cup of wine was drunk and the last part of the Hallel sung.] 
(15) Unleavened cake. (16) Washing of hands. (17) Special thanks. 
(18) Third cup. Then sometimes (19) a fourth cup. (20) Hallel, second 
part, Ps. 115-118, sung. (21) "Blessing of song," two brief prayers. The 
order varied at different periods. 

It will be seen that if Judas left immediately after the "sop" was given 
him, — this being the broken cakes with bitter herbs (13), — he would not be at 



Common Version. 

the Son of man is betrayed ! it had been 
good for that man if he had not been born. 

25 Then Judas, which betrayed him, an- 
swered and said, Master, is it I? He said 
unto him, Thou hast said. 

26 ^ And as they were eating, Jesus took 
bread, and blessed it, and brake it, and gave 
it to the disciples, and said, Take, eat ; this 
is my body. 

27 And he took the cup, and gave thanks, 
and gave it to them, saying, Drink ye all 
of it; 



Revised Version. 

the Son of man is betrayed ! good were 
it * for that man if he had not been born. 

25 And Judas, who betrayed him, answered 
and said, Is it I, Rabbi? He saith unto 

26 him, Thou hast said. And as they were 
eating, Jesus took 2 bread, and blessed, 
and brake it; and he gave to the dis- 
ciples, and said, Take, eat; this is my 

27 body. And he took 3 a cup, and gave 
thanks, and gave to them, saying, Drink 



1 Gr. /or him if that man. 2 Or, a loaf 3 Some ancient authorities read the cup. 



270 



A COMMENTARY ON THE GOSPEL OF MATTHEW. [Matt. 26 : 28, 20, 



the institution of the Lord's Supper, nor even at the eating of the paschal 
lamb. See John 13 : 30. 

The lamb was the essential part of the meal. It was to be roasted whole, 
on a spit, and must not touch the sides of the oven, or if it did, all those 
portions so touched must be removed. Not a bone of the lamb was to be 
broken, and none of it must be left over ; if any were not eaten it must be 
burned in the fire. The present usage is to follow the eating of the lamb 
with a third cup of wine. The red wine was used, mixed with water. The 
institution of the Lord's Supper would come in naturally in connection with 
the third cup in the above order. The cup of Luke 22 : 17 refers to the first 
cup of the meal ; while that in 22 : 20 was the third cup, instituting the new 
ordinance. This agrees with the cup of Matt. 26 : 27. 

28. this is my blood] Jesus, by this act, declares that he fulfills the 
covenants (old and new). His blood seemed already shed for the remission 
of sins. He was already devoted for sacrifice, our paschal lamb. His blood 
brought pardon. There is little in the ancient cruel blood-covenants among 
the heathen that is of significance, even by contrast, in the explanation of 
this solemn Christian ordinance. 

29. I drink it new] This feast is a type of that joy and comfort which 
will be realized in the glorified life. It cannot mean that he wouid drink 
even " new wine " of the earthly make in heaven, for that life is spiritual, not 
material; nothing material enters heaven. The words imply that he had 
ended all such earthly rites. He was soon to return to the Father. He 
would not need " the fruit of this vine " there. The " hymn " sung at the 
close, v. 30, would be the second part of the Great Hallel, Ps. 115-118. 

In the Greek Church and in most Reformed churches leavened bread is used 
in the Lord's Supper ; in the Latin Church, unleavened bread. The Greek 
and Latin churches alike use fermented wine. This is not the place to dis- 
cuss the so-called "two-wine theory." Many of the most earnest temper- 
ance people insist that Christ never made and did not here use fermented 
wine. Others, equally strong temperance advocates, and many of them 
able and devoted biblical scholars, hold that the wine used was the ordinary 
fermented juice of the grape. The Rev. George E. Post, M.D., for over 
twenty-five years a medical missionary and professor in the Syrian Protest- 
ant College at Beirut, writes under a recent date that he has never seen or 
heard of any other. He adds : " A native of Syria would be very much dis- 
gusted at the idea of taking any of the liquid which comes out of the wine 
or dibs press, until in the one case it has been purified by fermentation and 
in the other by boiling, skimming and concentration to the consistency of 



Common Version. 

28 For this is my blood of the new testa- 
ment, which is shed for many for the remis- 
sion of sins. 

29 But I say unto you, I will not drink 
henceforth of this fruit of the vine, until 
that day when I drink it new with you in 
my Father's kingdom. 



Revised Version. 

28 ye all of it ; for this is my blood of the 
* covenant, which is shed for many unto 

29 remission of sins. But I say unto you, I 
shall not drink henceforth of this fruit 
of the vine, until that day when I drink 
it new with you in my Father's kingdom. 



Many ancient authorities insert new. 



Matt. 26; 30.] THE PASSOVER AND THE LORD'S SUPPER. 271 

thick molasses. The latter is no more a beverage than honey. The most 
esteemed kind, in fact, is a semi-solid, of the consistency of marmalade, 
scarcely capable of being removed from a vessel except by a spoon or 
other utensil. It is a pity that so good a cause as temperance should be 
weakened by so poor an argument as the unfounded assertion that there is 
in Syria an unfermented wine, and that there was such a wine in Christ's 
time, and that that was the fruit of the vine intended in Mark 14 : 25 [and 
Matt. 26 : 29] . The only drink made from fresh grape juice is a kind of 
lemonade, made from the acid juice of unripe grapes and sweetened to the 
taste. This is in common use where grapes are abundant, but is not used by 
the Jews in their passover, and is every way unlikely to have been the drink 
intended." Similar testimony is given by Rev. Drs. Van Dyck, Jessup, 
Thomson and others, long resident and familiar with the habits of the peo- 
ple of Syria. Orthodox Jewish rabbis in this country also declare that the 
Jews use fermented wine at the passover, and do not regard it as leaven, to 
be removed from their dwellings. The propriety of now celebrating the 
Lord's Supper with the common fermented wine of commerce, however, is 
quite another question. 

There are several theories in regard to the Lord's Supper as a Christian 
ordinance. L. The Roman Catholics hold to the dogma of transubstantia- 
tion, that is, that the bread and wine of the sacrament are miraculously 
changed into the real body and blood of Christ, and that only the priests 
should partake of both elements, the laity receiving only one of the elements, 
the bread. This limits to the priests the " all " in the charge " Drink ye 
all of it" of v. 27. 2. The Lutheran view of the real presence; that the 
real body and blood of Christ are with, in and under the elements during the 
ordinance, and that all believers partake of it. 3. The Zwinglian view, that 
it is purely a spiritual ordinance commemorative of Christ. 4. The Calvin- 
istic view, that it is a real spiritual communion of believers with Christ and 
with each other, and a true reception of the spiritual benefits which flow 
from Christ. The evangelical non-ritual churches generally hold that the 
Lord's Supper is a commemorative ordinance, a feast of living believers 
with Christ, in which they partake of his body and blood, not carnally and 
corporeally but by faith, and receive spiritual nourishment and grace thereby. 
American Baptists generally hold that immersed believers only should come to 
the Lord's table. Some Presbyterian bodies, as the Scotch Covenanters, hold 
that only those of " their own faith and order " should be invited to the commu- 
nion. The larger bodies of Presbyterians, the Congregational ists, Methodists 
and Episcopalians usually invite all to the Lord's table who love our Lord 
Jesus Christ in sincerity and in truth, and who have signified that love by 
a public profession in some evangelical church. The controversies on this 
subject and on baptism reach back almost to apostolic times, and have often 
been very violent, bitter and uncharitable. Our purpose here is merely to 



Common Version. 

30 And when they had sung a hymn, they 
went out into the mount of Olives. 



Revised Version. 

30 And when they had sung a hymn, they 
went out unto the mount of Olives. 



272 



A COMMENTARY ON THE GOSPEL OF MATTHEW. [Matt. 26 : 31-35. 



state, very briefly, the historic facts. Holding the view each deems to be 
taught in the word of God, with firmness and love, let him exercise charity 
toward others whom he regards as sincere believers in Christ as a personal 
Saviour, yet who may differ from him on this subject. 

31. All ye shall be offended] or "caused to stumble," as the margin 
of the Revised Version reads. The disciples had their minds so strongly 
set upon some visible reign of Messiah that they would fail to perceive the 
meaning of his arrest and condemnation and crucifixion, and would be 
" offended " or made to stumble into questionings and doubts. See the remark 
of the two on the way to Emmaus, " We hoped that it was he who should 
redeem Israel." Luke 24 : 21, Revised Version American reading. In proof 
of this, and that it also fulfilled prophecy, he quotes Zech. 13 : 7, from the 
Greek Version as found in the Alexandrian MS., except that the future " I 
will smite " is used for the imperative. 

32. I will go before you] As a shepherd goes before his flock. Jesus 
keeps up the figure of the flock and shepherd used in the prophecy just 
quoted. He would rise from the dead, and again lead them. 

34. this night . . . thou slialt deny me thrice] Peter, bold, ardent 
and impulsive as usual, declares his fidelity with great confidence. Some 
see a difficulty in the narrative on the ground that it was unlawful for 
Jews to keep fowls within the Holy City. But surely that could not apply 
to Romans. Even after this solemn warning Peter is still full of enthusiastic 
confidence. He was ready to die for his Master rather than deny him. And 
they all shared in Peter's overweening, self-confident fidelity. Alas, that in 
a few hours their boasts should prove worth so little ! 

Suggestive Applications. — 1. Christ knows where every guest-chamber 
is. 2. The perplexing problem with the disciples is the puzzle of Christian 
society now after nearly twenty centuries of experience : how to bring those 
who have wants and those who can supply them together. Christ can guide 
both. Ask the Master. 3. A traitor in a Christian company ! A Judas 
among the twelve ! So it continues to be. 4. " Is it I, Lord ?" How few 
say that ! A strong, loving rebuke for sin from the desk leads one to say, 
"Didn't that hit Mr. A. hard?" "I wonder if Mrs. B. didn't cringe!" 



Common Version. 

31 Then saith Jesus unto them, All ye 
shall be offended because of me this night : 
for it is written, I will smite the Shepherd, 
and the sheep of the flock shall be scattered 
abroad. 

32 But after I am risen again, I will go 
before you into Galilee. 

33 Peter answered and said unto him, 
Though all men shall be offended because of 
thee, yet will I never be offended. 

34 Jesus said unto him, Verily I say unto 
thee, That this night, before the cock crow, 
thou shalt deny me thrice. 

35 Peter said unto him, Though I should 
die with thee, yet will I not deny thee. 
Likewise also said all the disciples. 



Revised Version. 

31 Then saith Jesus unto them, All ye 
shall be ' offended in me this night : for 
it is written, I will smite the shepherd, 
and the sheep of the flock shall be scat- 

32 tered abroad. But after I am raised up, 

33 I will go before you into Galilee. But 
Peter answered and said unto him, If all 
shall be * offended in thee, I will never 

34 be 1 offended. Jesus said unto him, Ver- 
ily I say unto thee, that this night, be- 
fore the cock crow, thou shalt deny me 

35 thrice. Peter saith unto him. Even if I 
must die with thee, yet will I not deny 
thee. Likewise also said all the disciples. 



1 Gr. caused to stumble. 



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Matt. 26 : 36, 37.] IN GETHSEMANE. 273 

" How exactly that fitted Miss C. !" And so they go on applying the sermon 
to all their neighbors, but forget earnestly to ask, "Is it I, Lord?" 5. The 
earthly supper a type of the heavenly feast. 6. The traitor may not be 
present, yet there are Peters and a houseful of weak friends often in the 
church. 7. If ten persons read Christians where one reads the Bible, what 
a poor idea the world must get of Christianity ! 8. Our strength is not in 
self-will, but in Christ's abounding grace. 

In Gethsemane. vs. 36-56. Compare Mark 14 : 32-52 ; Luke 22 : 39-53 ; 

John 18 : 1-12. 
Near Jerusalem, Thursday, April 6, a.d. 30. 

36. place called Gethsemane] The Greek word for "place" implies 
an enclosed spot ; John says it was a garden. If it was not public property, 
something like our city parks, Jesus must have been known to the owner 
and have been on friendly terms with him. Some suppose it belonged to 
Lazarus of Bethany or to some of his family. Gethsemane is from two words 
— Geth or Goth, " a press," and Shemen or Shem 'na, " oil ;" hence oil-press. 
The place was across the brook " Kedron," Kedron being the Greek for 
cedars, as if it were a "brook of cedars," or from the Hebrew Kidron, 
meaning "turbid" or "black;" that is, black water, or, more probably, black 
or dark trees. The Latins have fixed it, after an old tradition, on the lower 
slope of Mount Olivet, about one hundred yards east from the bridge cross- 
ing the Kedron and a few minutes' walk from the eastern gate of Jerusalem. 
The Greeks have one of more recent date higher up the slope. Professor 
Post and Dr. Thomson think the Latin site too near the highway. Professor 
Post says it should be sought in the valley to the northeast of the Latin site, 
but he suggests no spot. The objection does not seem strong enough to weigh 
against a tradition reaching back to the fourth century. 

37. Peter and the two sons of Zebedee] Jesus often resorted to this 
place, Luke 22 : 39 ; John 18 : 2, and Judas knew the place. Jesus walked 
under the shade of the old olives ; not those now there, for the old trees were 
all cut down in the times of Titus, forty years after. Young trees may have 
sprung from the roots of the old ones, and thus the present ones may be the 
successors of those old ones under which Jesus walked in sorrow. Choosing 
the three, Peter, James and John, Jesus leaves the others, and retires a few 
steps aside for prayer. It was the time of the full moon ; the night would 
be light, darkened by the shadow of the great trees, and the deeper shades 
of that awful agony which Jesus suffered there for us. 



Common Version. 



36 fl Then cometh Jesus with them unto a 
place called Gethsemane, and saith unto the 
disciples, Sit ye here, while I go and pray 
yonder. 

37 And he took with him Peter and the 
two sons of Zebedee, and began to be sor- 
rowful and very heavy. 

1 Gr. an enclosed piece of ground. 

18 



Revised Version. 

36 Then cometh Jesus with them unto * a 
place called Gethsemane, and saith unto 
his disciples, Sit ye here, while I go yon- 

37 der and pray. And he took with him 
Peter and the two sons of Zebedee, and 
began to be sorrowful and sore troubled. 



274 



A COMMENTARY ON THE GOSPEL OF MATTHEW. [Matt. 26:38-46. 



38. My soul] Being "sore troubled" he calls for human sympathy. 
His sorrow, he touchingly and tenderly says, is so great that he is nigh to 
death with the grief. It almost kills him, the agony is so agonizing, fie 
beseeches the three to watch with him. Even their sympathy would seem 
to bring a little comfort, a little relief from the bitter anguish. 

89. fell on his face, and prayed] Even from these select disciples 
he withdraws a few steps and then falls into the agonizing prayer, yet sub- 
missive in the deepest sorrow. This sense of desertion, the woe of sin, the 
awful punishment it deserved, the loneliness of one cast off from God — all 
these roll upon his soul, overwhelming him as he takes the bitter cup. He 
comes back to find the three chosen disciples not watching, but sleeping. 
With a grieved tone he reproves Peter — Peter who an hour or two before 
had declared that he would die with his Lord. Yet how tenderly Jesus 
mingles gentleness with the rebuke ! " The flesh is weak." Three times he 
goes and prays the same prayer ; so Paul had three seasons of prayer for the 
removal of the thorn in the flesh. 2 Cor. 12:8. Each time Jesus returned 
he found the disciples sleeping. They were not heartless nor insensible, 
but worn out with anxiety and the mental strain of the past days and the 
night of excitement. It must have been past midnight. 

45. Sleep on now] These words are difficult to explain, and have been 
variously understood. (1) They may have a touch of irony : the agony is 
over, the victory is won ; I do not need your sympathy now ; sleep on ; or, 
(2) Sleep on now, if you can, with the enemy so near, which would also have 
a touch of irony ; (3) or, taken as a question, Can or do you sleep on still 
and take your rest ? or, (4) Jesus is supposed to have spoken in a meditative 



Common Version. 



38 Then saith he unto them, My soul is 
exceeding sorrowful, even unto death: tarry 
ye here, and watch with me. 

39 And he went a little further, and fell 
on his face, and prayed, saying, O my Father, 
if it be possible, let this cup pass from me : 
nevertheless, not as I will, but as thou wilt. 

40 And he cometh unto the disciples, and 
findeth them asleep, and saith unto Peter, 
What, could ye not watch with me one hour? 

41 Watch and pray, that ye enter not into 
temptation : the spirit indeed is willing, but 
the flesh is weak. 

42 He went away again the second time, 
and prayed, saying, O my Father, if this cup 
may not pass away from me, except I drink 
it, thy will be done. 

43 And he came and found them asleep 
again : for their eyes were heavy. 

44 And he left them, and went away again, 
and prayed the third time, saying the same 
words. 

45 Then cometh he to his disciples, and j 
saith unto them, Sleep on now, and take 
your rest: behold, the hour is at hand, and 
the Son of man is betrayed into the hands 
of sinners. 

46 Rise, let us be going: behold, he is at 
hand that doth betray me. 

1 Or, Watch ye, and pray 



38 



39 



40 



41 



42 



43 



44 



45 



46 



Revised Version. 

Then saith he unto them, My soul is 
exceeding sorrowful, even unto death: 
abide ye here, and watch with me. And 
he went forward a little, and fell on his 
face, and prayed, saying, O my Father, 
if it be possible, let this cup pass away 
from me : nevertheless, not as I will, but 
as thou wilt. And he cometh unto the 
disciples, and findeth them sleeping, and 
saith unto Peter, What, could ye not 
watch with me one hour? * Watch and 
pray, that ye enter not into temptatiou ; 
the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh 
is weak. Again a second time he went 
away, and prayed, saying, O my Father, 
if this cannot pass away, except I drink 
it, thy will be done. And he came again 
and found them sleeping, for their eyes 
were heavy. And he left them again, 
and went away, and prayed a third time, 
saying again the same words. Then com- 
eth he to the disciples, and saith unto 
them, Sleep on now, and take your rest : 
behold, the hour is at hand, and the Son 
of man is betrayed into the hands of sin- 
ners. Arise, let us be going : behold, he 
is at hand that betrayeth me. 



that ye enter not 



Matt. 26:47-53.] IN GETHSEMANF. 275 

mood and in compassion, "Sleep on now;" thus recalling his request to watch 
with him, and giving permission to sleep. Then in the same moment the 
sight or sound of the coming enemy leads him to make the call, " Arise, let 
ns be going;" not to escape by flight, but to meet courageously the betrayer 
and his company. The third is scarcely admissible from the present Greek 
reading. The fourth is a probable, but not very natural, explanation. The 
first or second is the preferable view. 

47. Judas • • . and ... a great multitude] Judas appears to have 
gone from the passover room to the rulers. He must have convinced them 
that he had a good opportunity to deliver up Jesus. They furnish him the 
cohort or band of soldiers and officers from their own number, probably 
some of the Jewish guards of the temple, armed with " swords," the short 
broadsword, "staves" or "clubs," and carrying "lanterns and torches." 
John 18 : 3. Judas guides them to Gethsemane, which he knew to be a 
chosen spot to which Jesus resorted. The "sign" of the kiss would be 
needed in the night under the shade of the trees, even when the moon was 
full. They could not well distinguish the Master from the disciples without 
it. Judas gave that "sign" before the questions of Jesus to the company, 
which are recorded in John 18 : 4-9. Some leading harmonists place the 
"kiss" after these questions, but there would be no need for it after Jesus 
had openly declared himself, and it would be an unnatural proceeding. It 
was the usual mode of salutation in the East. And Judas " kissed him pro- 
fusely," so the Greek implies, as if a loving friend. 

50. Jesus said] The question of Jesus, " Friend," etc., is the common 
expression in the East to this day when a friend comes unexpectedly. It 
may imply here a rebuke, " Friend, do that for which thou art come," see 
Revised Version, and so signify that Jesus spurned the kiss and would prefer 
to declare himself the person. John 18 : 8. 

52. Put up . . . thy sword] The name of the disciple, Peter, and of the 



Common Version. 

47 f And while he yet spake, lo, Judas, one 
of the twelve, came, and with him a great 
multitude with swords and staves, from the 
chief priests and elders of the people. 

48 Now he that betrayed him gave them a 
sign, saying, Whomsoever I shall kiss, that 
same is he; hold him fast. 

49 And forthwith he came to Jesus, and 
said, Hail, Master; and kissed him. 

50 And Jesus said unto him, Friend, 
wherefore art thou come? Then came they, 
and laid hands on Jesus, and took him. 

51 And, behold, one of them which were 
with Jesus stretched out his hand, and drew 
his sword, and struck a servant of the high 
priest, and smote off his ear. 

52 Then said Jesus unto him, Put up again 



Revised Version. 

47 And while he yet spake, lo, Judas, one 
of the twelve, came, and with him a great 
multitude with swords and staves, from 
the chief priests and elders of the people. 

48 Now he that betrayed him gave them a 
sign, saying, Whomsoever I shall kiss, 

49 that is he: take him. And straightway 
he came to Jesus, and said, Hail, Rabbi ; 

50 and l kissed him. And Jesus said unto 
him, Friend, do that for which thou art 
come. Then they came and laid hands 

51 on Jesus, and took him. And behold, one 
of them that were with Jesus stretched 
out his hand, and drew his sword, and 
smote the 2 servant of the high priest, 

52 and struck off his ear. Then saith Jesus 
unto him, Put up again thy sword into 



thy sword into his place : for all they that its place : for all they that take the sword 

take the sword shall perish with the sword, j 53 shall perish with the sword. Or think- 
53 Thinkest thou that I cannot now pray est thou that I cannot beseech my Father, 

to my Father, and he shall presently give j and he shall even now send me more than 
me more than twelve legions of angels? 

I Gr. kissed him much. 2 Gr. bondsei-vant. 



276 A COMMENTARY ON THE GOSPEL OF MATTHEW. [Matt. 26 : 51-56. 

high priest's slave, Malchus, are given by John only. The healing is related 
by Luke only. The assurance of Jesus that he could ask and have " twelve 
legions of angels" is given by Matthew only. 

Matthew recalls and records this remarkable question — " How then shall 
[should] the Scriptures be fulfilled?" He keeps this purpose before the 
reader, to show that Jesus fulfills the Jewish Scriptures. 

55. I sat daily with you] is a keen reproof of this cowardly and 
sneaking way of coming for him in the night. He had been several days 
with them in the temple, sitting and teaching; why did they not arrest 
him then ? Their sly, secret and cowardly plans had led them unintention- 
ally to fulfill Scripture. Isa. 53 : 10; Lam. 4 : 20. As the disciples were not 
to resist, flight seemed to be the most prudent thing left to them. 

56. the disciples forsook him] Or, " left him." They were cast down ; 
their hopes were dashed ; they were stunned by this, to them, unexpected 
turn in affairs. Jesus had foretold it very distinctly, v. 31, so that they might 
be prepared for it; but they understood not. Matthew, writing later, points 
out how all this fulfilled prophecy. 

Suggestive Applications. — 1. Soul agony may be in contrast with the 
serenity of nature. 2. It was so in Gethsemane. This was at the time of full 
moon ; the rainy season had passed ; a storm then was rare ; the heavens 
were doubtless peaceful, the night quiet and calm as " eastern skies ;" there 
was little in nature, save the night, to harmonize with the deep and awful 
agony falling upon the Son of God. 3. Nature seemed rather to have an air 
of quiet joy that a lost race was redeemed. 4. The deepest grief is followed 
often by sleep so oppressive that the worn-out frame is powerless to resist. 
5. How considerate is Jesus of our infirmities ! In his deepest agony he 
understood the bodily weakness of the disciples. 6. There is no sorrow 
which the coarseness of the wicked will regard ; there is no solemn seclusion 
which they will not ruthlessly invade. 7. Peter boastful, fighting, flying 
and denying in the same night ; what a bundle of infirmities is a human 
soul ! 8. There is little safety or comfort in trusting to self. 9. The end 
comes, but there is no angelic host, no dazzling glory, as on the mount of 
transfiguration. The Son of God arrested, and no miracle, no fire from 
heaven, no opening of the earth to swallow up the wicked men ! Nay, it is 
the most stupendous of wonders, that this could occur and all heaven be 
restrained from blotting out the earth by a manifestation of love for the Son 
of God, and by coming in glory to deliver him ! 10. How short-sighted is 
man ! The Christian may often suffer, and deliverance not come ; hopes 



Common Version. 

54 But how then shall the Scriptures be 
fulfilled, that thus it must be ? 

55 In that same hour said Jesus to the 
multitudes, Are ye come out as against a 
thief with swords and staves for to take me? 
I sat daily with you teaching in the temple, 
and ye laid no hold on me. 

56 But all this was done, that the Scrip- 
tures of the prophets might be fulfilled. 



Revised Version. 

54 twelve legions of angels? How then 
should the scriptures be fulfilled, that 

55 thus it must be? In that hour said Je- 
sus to the multitudes, Are ye come out as 
against a robber with swords and staves 
to seize me? I sat daily in the temple 

56 teaching, and ye took me not. But all 
this is come to pass, that the scriptures 
of the prophets might be fulfi'led. Then 



Then all the disciples forsook him, and fled. | all the disciples left him, and fled. 



Matt. 26 : 57.] 



JESUS BEFORE CAIAPHAS. 



>77 



may be dashed, and no presence of heaven's glory be seen, for it is God's 
plan to work out the greater good and greater glory in ways grander and 
more far-reaching than the heart of man can conceive. 

Jesus before Caiaphas. vs. 57-68. Compare Mark 14 : 53-65 ; Luke 

22 : 54-65 ; John 18 : 12-27. 
Jerusalem, Palace of Caiaphas, Friday, before sunrise, April 7, a.d. 30. 

57. led him away to Caiaphas the high priest] The Revised Version 
inserts " to the house of Caiaphas," but the words " the house of" are an 
addition not found in the Greek text. John expressly states that, after the 
arrest, they "led him away to Annas first," and the reason is given, "for he 
was father in law to Caiaphas." Annas was the stronger character; rich, influ- 
ential, an ex-high priest, he was the recognized head of the Sadducean Jews. 
He had held the high priest's office only five or six years, but it was filled by 
not less than five of his sons, by his son in law Caiaphas, and by a grandson. 

Matthew, Mark and Luke make no mention of Jesus before Annas. This 
we learn from John. Whether there was a trial or an informal examina- 
tion before Annas, and whether John intends to describe it in 18 : 13-24, or 
whether no account of what took place there has been preserved, are ques- 
tions which belong more properly to a commentary on John. Briefly it may 
be stated here that there are no signs of agreement on these questions among 
biblical scholars. There are two leading views : I. That there was but one 
Jewish examination, which was by Caiaphas. In that case John 18 : 24 is a 
parenthetic clause, the verb having the sense of the pluperfect tense " had 
sent," as in the Authorized Version. To this it is objected that (1) the Greek 
verb (in the aorist) cannot be taken in the sense of the English pluperfect ; * 
(2) it confuses two distinct accounts in Matthew and Mark, which refer to a 
night examination and a morning assembly, compare Matt. 26 : 57-68 with 
Mark 14 : 53-65, and Matt. 27 : 1 with Mark 15 : 7 ; (3) it also breaks up the 
order of Luke's narrative, and fails to account intelligibly for the order in 
John. (4) The most serious objection to this theory is that, if correct, John 
18 : 24 is sadly misplaced ; v. 24 ought to follow immediately after v. 13, 



Common Version. 

57 fl And they that had laid hold on Jesus 
led him away to Caiaphas the high priest, 
where the scribes and the elders were assem- 
bled. 



Revised Version. 

57 And they that had taken Jesus led him 
away to the house of Caiaphas the high 
priest, where the scribes and the elders 



* This is urged in Robinson's Greek Harmony, Riddle's edition, pp. 258, 260. But see 
paper by Prof. Gardiner in Journal of Society of Biblical Literature and Exegesis, 1886, who 
dissents from Prof. Riddle's view and urges with much ability that (1) the Greek aorist 
is sometimes used in the sense of an English pluperfect, and (2) even when accompanied 
by ovv. His argument is very strong on the first point, but not convincing on the second 
point; for, even when ovv denotes sequence of thought only, and not of time, it is 
scarcely natural to accompany it with a pluperfect. Then if it is conceded that the 
English pluperfect might represent the Greek aorist in some cases, it must still be shown 
that John 18 : 24 is a case requiring such a rendering. Hence the above argument would 
at most merely make the theory of one examination possible and tenable; it is not a/«j,vi- 
tivc argument for this view. 



278 A COMMENTARY ON THE GOSPEL OF MATTHEW. [Matt. 26 : 58, 59. 



instead of v. 23. It is exceedingly difficult, on this theory of one examina- 
tion, to account for the occurrence of the statement in v. 24 at that point in 
the narrative, even parenthetically. But it would have come in naturally as 
a parenthetical remark after v. 13 or 14, and only there. 

II. The other leading view is that there were two Jewish examinations, 
one before Annas and the other before Caiaphas. The objections to this view 
are : 1. That the denials of Peter were then partly during the examination 
before Annas and partly before Caiaphas, and that this is not consistent with 
the narrative of Matthew. But if Annas and Caiaphas dwelt in the same 
palace, the denials would in either case all be in the same court of the same 
building. Or, again, a writer narrating two events that happened at the 
same time must narrate one and then the other. He may not attempt to give 
the relative order of all the details in the contemporaneous events. This 
is evidently the case in the narrative of Matthew. 2. That Annas sent Jesus 
bound to Caiaphas, it is said implies that he sent him some distance. But 
why so? Jerusalem is comparatively a very small town. The phrase im- 
plies only that Annas sent Jesus on to the legal official. It might have 
been to another part of the palace. These objections are less serious than 
those against the other view. And this view offers an explanation of the 
widely-different details of the examination narrated in John, from those 
here given. Moreover, it is consistent with the narratives to hold that 
there was an examination before Annas, of which we have no account, the 
fact being only referred to in John 18 : 13, 24. See Edersheim, Life and 
Times of Jesus, vol. ii. pp. 547, 548. 

To sum up then, these points are generally conceded: 1. That Jesus was 
first brought before Annas ; 2. That he was sent bound to Caiaphas with or 
without examination ; 3. That he was condemned finally on his own confession 
by Caiaphas ; 4. That after a morning meeting of the council Jesus was 
taken before Pilate and accused of three things — (1) of perverting the nation, 
(2) forbidding to pay tribute to Csesar, (3) claiming himself to be rightfully a 
king. The examination described by Matthew all agree to be that before 
Caiaphas. He passes in silence the fact mentioned by John that Jesus was 
first led before Annas. 

58. Peter followed . . . unto the . • • palace] How Peter found 
entrance to the palace, John 18 : 15, 16 tells us. From this mention of 
Peter's presence in the palace, Matthew turns to give an account of the ex- 
amination of Jesus before Caiaphas, which he completes, and then in v. 69 
takes up the story of Peter's base denials, and completes it. This will largely 
account for the variations from the order of other evangelists. 

59. all the council, sought false witness] They kept seeking for 



Common Version. 

58 But Peter followed him afar off unto 
the high priest's palace, and went in, and 
sat with the servants, to see the end. 



Revised Version. 

58 were gathered together. But Peter fol- 
lowed him afar oft, unto the court of the 
high priest, and entered in, and sat with 



59 Now the chief priests, and elders, and j 59 the othcers, to see the end. Now the 
all the council, sought false witness agaiust j chief priests and the whole council 
Jesus, to put him to death ; ' sought false witness against Jesus, that 



Matt. 26 : 60-65.] 



JESUS BEFORE CAIAPHAS. 



279 



false testimony against Jesus. They required two witnesses to condemn a 
man under the law. Deut. 17 : 6 ; 19 : 15. False testimony was forbidden by 
the ninth commandment, and what a false witness sought to have done to 
another, the law required to be done to him. Deut. 19 : 16-19. The entire 
court, " all the council," so far as the members were present, broke this law. 
But for a time they found no witnesses to agree. 

It must be remembered that Oriental courts are less formal than ours, and 
the Jewish usage formed no marked exception to that loose custom. Now, 
in an eastern court, questions are put loosely, cross-questioning is not keen 
or confusing as in some of our courts, nor does the trial proceed with that 
order or definite logical sequence known to us. The criminal often and 
indeed usually conducts his own case in the minor courts, and there is little 
speech-making. The result depends chiefly on the judge. He may be in- 
fluenced more by political motives than by justice, and the offer of a large 
money bribe is usual and generally proves more potent than either position 
or justice. 

60, 61. two • • • said] These two agreed in their testimony, but per- 
verted the words of Jesus. Whether they willfully perverted them, or igno- 
rant ly, is not clear. But since they seem to refer back to the first cleansing 
of the temple, John 2 : 14-16, it is quite possible that they gave the confused 
but popular meaning attached to the words, since the Jews at the time gener- 
ally misunderstood him. See John 2 : 20. 

63. I adjure thee] The high priest sought to get some answer from 
Jesus that would lead to a condemnation. Failing to do this by calling his 
attention to the testimony, he makes a solemn adjuration, which was admiss- 
ible under Ex. 22:11, Num. 5 : 19-22 and Josh. 7 : 19, and was an oath re- 
quiring one to deny or confess the crime charged. 

64. Thou hast said] A form of confession that he was the Christ. 
And he adds a prophecy respecting his future glorious manifestation as the 
real Messiah. 

65. He hath spoken blasphemy] This charge would be true if Jesus 



Common Version. 

60 But found none: yea, though many 
false witnesses came, yet found they none. 
At the last came two false witnesses, 

61 And said, This fellow said, I am able to 
destroy the temple of God, and to build it 
in three days. 

62 And the high priest arose, and said 
unto him, Answerest thou nothing? what 
is it which these witness against thee? 

63 But Jesus held his peace. And the high 
priest answered and said unto him, I adjure 
thee by the living God, that thou tell us 
whether thou be the Christ, the Son of God. 

64 Jesus saith unto him, Thou hast said : 
nevertheless I say unto you, Hereafter shall 
ye see the Son of man sitting on the right 
hand of power, and coming in the clouds of 
heaven. 

»;"> Then the high priest rent his clothes, 
saying, He hath spoken blasphemy; what 
1 Or, sanctuary ; as 



Revised Version. 

60 they might put him to death ; and they 
found it not, though many false witnesses 

61 came. But afterward came two, and said, 
This man said, I am able to destroy the 
1 temple of God, and to build it in three 

62 days. And the high priest stood up, and 
said unto him, Answerest thou nothing? 
what is it which these witness against 

63 thee? But Jesus held his peace. And 
the high priest said unto him, I adjure 
thee by the living God, that thou tell us 
whether thou be the Christ, the Son of 

64 God. Jesus saith unto him, Thou hast 
said : nevertheless I say unto you, Hence- 
forth ye shall see the Son of man sitting 
at the right hand of power, and coming 

65 on the clouds of heaven. Then the high 
priest rent his garments, saying, He hath 



in ch. 23:35; 27:5. 



280 



A COMMENTARY ON THE GOSPEL OF MATTHEW. [Matt. 26 : 60-69. 



was an impostor. If he was the Christ, it was no blasphemy to claim to be 
what he truly was. The high priest and the council had no intention or 
desire to consider the truthfulness of his claim. They assumed it to be false, 
and Jesus to be an impostor in the face of his wonderful miracles of raising 
the dead, and in the face of his more wonderful teaching and life. So they 
all, that is, all who were present, at once declared Jesus guilty of death as a 
blasphemer. 

67. they spit in his face] It is not certain, but very probable, that 
these indignities and outrages were not done by members of the council or 
Sanhedrin, though their spirit must have inspired and prompted them. They 
were most likely the acts of the officers and Jewish guards in whose immedi- 
ate hands Jesus was. In all their conduct the Jews were fulfilling prophecy 
concerning the Messiah. See Isa. 50:6; Lam. 3:30; Micah 5:1. The 
spitting upon, blindfolding and smiting him, and in mockery calling on him 
to prophesy or tell who it was that struck him, pictures a scene possible in 
eastern courts only. How the character and conduct of Jesus shine out in 
contrast with their baseness and inhumanity ! 

Suggestive Applications. — 1. The wicked wrest the words of Christ 
to their own hurt. 2. When God justifies, who shall condemn ? 3. The 
silence of Jesus under outrage is more wonderful than speech. 4. The Christ 
of humiliation will be the Christ of heaven. 5. The wicked actor knows 
how to simulate great sanctity. 6. The wicked often fulfill Scripture, as 
Christ's persecutors did. 7. Silence under great outrages may sometimes 
best show forth God's grace. 8. How much Christ suffered for us ! 



Peter's Denials, vs. 69-75. Compare Mark 14 : 66-72 ; Luke 22 : 55-62 ; 

John 18 : 15-18 and 25-27. 
High Priest's Palace, Friday, April 7, a.d. 30. 

69. Peter sat without in the palace] or, as Mark says, " beneath in 
the palace," or, more accurately, "in the court" as in the Kevised Version. 
Luke adds that " he sat by the fire." These variations are slight and by no 
means contradictory. They differ just as honest witnesses would be expected 
to differ in giving the details of such an event, each stating some minor detail 
which the other omits. These variations are a strong argument for the inde- 
pendence and truthfulness of the different Gospel narratives. The high 



Common Version. 

further need have we of witnesses? behold, 
now ye have heard his blasphemy. 

66 What think ye? They answered and 
said, He is guilty of death. 

67 Then did they spit in his face, and 
buffeted him; and others smote him with 
the palms of their hands, 

68 Saying, Prophesy unto us, thou Christ, 
Who is he that smote thee? 

69 \ Now Peter sat without in the palace : 
and a damsel came unto him, saying, Thou 
also wast with Jesus of Galilee. 

1 Gr. liable to. 



Kevised Version. 

spoken blasphemy: what further need 
have we of witnesses? behold, now ye 
have heard the blasphemy : what think 

66 ye? They answered and said, He is 

67 * worthy of death. Then did they spit 
in his face and buffet him: and some 
smote him 2 with the palms of their 

68 hands, saying, Prophesy unto us, thou 
Christ: who is he that struck thee? 

69 Now Peter was sitting without in the 
court: and a maid came unto him, say- 
ing, Thou also wast with Jesus the Gal* 

2 Or, with rods 



Matt. 26 : 70-74.] 



PETER'S DENIALS. 



281 



priest's palace or house was probably a two-story building around an open 
court and standing on the slope of a hill. The street gate or door opens into 
a hall or passage way, the npoavXiov, or nvfaov, the porch, and beyond this 
was the avli] or interior court, open to the sky. Peter would be in this court- 
on a level with the lower story. Here stood a brazier of coals, casting a red 
glare on the faces of the men and servants, who were trying to warm them- 
selves and catch some words from the trial going on, either in the reception- 
room on the same floor and open upon the court side, or perhaps in an upper 
room also opening upon the court. Peter was there partly from curiosity ; 
he wanted " to see the end." v. 58. 

a damsel] or a maid. The first questioner of Peter was a maidservant, 
the portress as John specifically says. The charge was no doubt repeated 
several times, with true eastern garrulity. The first denial may have been 
soon after Peter entered the court. See John 18 : 15-17. 

71. another maid saw him] The first denial of Peter soon brought 
a volley of charges upon him from this maid reinforced by others (see 
the four accounts), and this so thoroughly annoyed and fired his temper 
that he hotly denied with an oath any knowledge of his Master. This 
second denial seems to have given him a little respite from their taunts for 
an hour or more. 

73. after a while • . . they that stood by] The third charge against 
Peter may have been started by a relative of Malchus, whose ear Peter had 
struck off in the garden. Others joined with him, as appears from Matthew's 
narrative. This time the accusation was sharper than before. The accusers 
were sure of their man. His speech had the peculiar accent of a Galilean. 
This consisted in a thick pronunciation of the guttural letters, like the change 
of sh into th. Thus beset for the third time, Peter lost all control of his 
temper and of himself. He began to curse and to swear. Doubtless this was 
an imprecation common among his people, to which he may have been 
addicted before his call to be a disciple. It is not necessary here to deter- 
mine the relation of these denials to the detailed events of the trial going 
on at the same time, nor is it of great importance. To relate the fact that 
the foremost disciple did thus sadly and basely deny his Lord is the main 
purpose of this portion of the narrative. 



Common Version. 

70 But he denied before them all, saying, I 
know not what thou sayest. 

71 And when he was gone out into the 
porch, another maid saw him, and said unto 
them that were there, This fellow was also 
with Jesus of Nazareth. 

72 And again he denied with an oath, I 
do not know the man. 

73 And after a while came unto him they 
that stood by, and said to Peter, Surely thou 
also art one of them ; for thy speech bewray- 
eth thee. 

74 Then began he to curse and to swear, 
saying, I know not the man. And immedi- 
ately the cock crew. 



Revised Version. 

70 iliean. But he denied before them all, 
saying, I know not what thou sayest. 

71 And when he was gone out into the 
porch, another maid saw him, and saith 
unto them that were there, This man 

72 also was with Jesus the Nazarene. And 
again he denied with an oath, I know not 

73 the man. And after a little while they 
that stood by came and said to Peter, Of a 
truth thou also art one of them ; for thy 

74 speech bewrayeth thee. Then began lie 
to curse and to swear, I know not the 
man. .And straightway the cock crew, 



282 



A COMMENTARY ON THE GOSPEL OF MATTHEW. [Matt. 26:75; 27:1. 



75. Peter remembered . . . and wept bitterly] The crowing of the 
cock and the look of Jesus, Luke 22 : 61, brought, like a flash of light, a deep 
sense of his sin to Peter. Filled with shame and mortification, and crushed 
with sorrow, he rushed from the scene of his temptation and fail, into the street, 
and sought a place of repentance with bitter tears. There is a tradition that 
all his life Peter arose every morning at the hour Jesus looked upon him and 
prayed again for pardon, and that he never could hear the cock crow without 
calling to mind his awful sin. The Romish Church sometimes sets a cock 
upon the church steeple to remind people of Peter's sin and repentance. 

Suggestive Applications. — 1. Peter was self-confident; befell. 2. To 
sin is human; to wallow in sin is devilish; to hate and forsake sin is 
Christian and heavenly. 3. Peter, the rock, became but a reed to be broken 
by a silly maid. 4. Some Christians can slash with a sword like Peter, 
but are themselves cut down easily by a sneer. 5. Show your colors; if a 
Christian among the ungodly, courageously own it — not evasively deny it. 
6. Blessed is he who is convicted of sin by a look from Jesus ! 7. The re- 
morseful Judas dies unforgiven ; the repentant Peter becomes the pentecostal 
p readier. 



Chap. XXVII. The Council Condemn Jesus: Judas Kills Himself. 

vs. 1-10. Compare Mark 15 : 1 ; Luke 22 : 66-71 ; John 18 : 28 ; Acts 1 : 

18, 19. 

Jerusalem, Friday Morning, April 7, a.d. 30. 

1. When the morning was come] This marks a meeting distinct from 
aud following that described in the last chapter. Whether this meeting is 
identical with the one noted in Luke 22 : 66-71 is an unsettled question. 
All admit that a morning meeting of the council is intended by Matt. 27 : 1 
and Mark 15 : 1. It seems natural to conclude from the order of Luke's 
narrative, and from his language, that he intended to describe what took 
place at the morning meeting. 

all the chief priests] "All" is used in the general sense of the whole 
council ; at any meeting some might be absent. One, at least, was absent 
from this meeting. See Luke 23 : 51. They conferred together as to further 
measures to secure the execution of the death sentence. The Sanhedrin 
could not put one to death without the authority of the Eoman ruler. Under 
Jewish law a claim to be the Messiah was blasphemy. But the Koman ruler 
cared nothing for blasphemy. Hence the form was changed, so that claim- 
ing to be the Messiah, that is, a king, was made to appear treason against 
Caesar, as will be seen below. 



Common Version. 

75 And Peter remembered the word of 
Jesus, which said unto him, Before the cock 
crow, thou shalt deny me thrice. And he 
went out, and wept bitterly. 

CHAP. XXVII.— When the morning was 
come, all the chief priests and elders 
of the people took counsel against Jesus to 
put him to death: 



Revised Version. 

75 And Peter remembered the word which 
Jesus had said, Before the cock crow, 
thou shalt deny me thrice. And he went 
out, and wept bitterly. 
27 Now when morning was come, all the 
chief priests and the elders of the people 
took counsel against Jesus to put him ta 



Matt. 27 : 2-5. J DEATH OF JUDAS. 



2* delivered him to • • • Pilate] Judaea was attached to the Roman 
province of Syria, which was an imperial province governed by a propraetor 
or prefect, with three legates or military commanders, and a procurator 
who managed the revenues. The Jews being turbulent, and the country dis- 
tant from Antioch the capital of Syria, the Roman emperor appointed a 
separate officer over Judaea with the title of procurator. This procurator or 
sub-prefect had the power of life and death, and of deposing and appointing 
the high priest. Pontius Pilate had succeeded Valerius Gratus as procura- 
tor of Judaea in a.d. 25 or 26. The Roman capital of Judaea was Caesarea, 
but the Jewish capital continued at Jerusalem. Pilate was crafty, weak, 
wanting in courage, was accused and displaced in a.d. 36, and tradition says 
banished to Gaul or to Lucerne. The work Acts of Pilate is spurious. 

Death of Judas. 

3. Judas . • • when he saw . • . repented himself] This implies 
that the condemnation of Jesus was an unexpected result to Judas, but he 
knew Jesus was innocent and himself a betrayer. See v. 4. Two words are 
used in the New Testament for " repent." One is fieravoeid, metanceo, or 
metanoia, which signifies a change of mind ; the other is /ueraiuehofiai, metame- 
lomai, which means to care after, or to change one's care, thence to have sor- 
row, and hence remorse. It is this latter word which is used here in regard 
to Judas. He had sorrow, remorse, bitter regret, but no true repentance, that 
is, no reformation of life or heart, no forsaking of sin. It was not a godly 
sorrow, but a remorse, that sent him out to hang himself. Peter had sorrow 
for the cause, Judas for the effect; Peter's repentance was a change of purpose, 
of mind ; Judas would simply escape the consequences, the punishment, of 
his sin. 

brought again the thirty pieces of silver] The money was paid and 
accepted. The narrative here implies that the thirty pieces were the full 
amount, and not merely an earnest of a further sum. Judas testifies to the 
innocence of Jesus. His whole conduct in this betrayal shows a corrupt, 
avaricious nature and a bad heart. The supposition that he intended only 
to force his Master to declare his Messianic claims, and assume the tem- 
poral rule of the Jews in accordance with their expectations as to thp 
Messiah, is not consistent with the facts. 

5. he cast down the pieces of silver] Stung by the cold, heartless 



Common Version. 

2 And when they had bound him, they 
K'd him away, and delivered him to Pontius 
Pilate the governor. 

3 ^ Then Judas, which had betrayed him, 
when he saw that he was condemned, re- 



Revised Version. 

2 death : and they bound him, and led him 
away, and delivered him up to Pilate the 
governor. 

3 Then Judas, who betrayed him, when 
he saw that he was condemned, repented 



pented himself, and brought again the thir- himself, and brought back the thirty 

ty pieces of silver to the chief priests and pieces of silver to the chief priests and 

elders, i 4 elders, saying, I have sinned in that I 

4 Saying, I have sinned in that T have be- betxaypd i innocent blood. But they 
trayed the innocent blood. And they Raid, , said, What is that to us? see thou to it. 
What is that to us? see thou to l hat. | 5 And he cast down the pieces of silver 

5 And he cast down the pieces of silver in 

*Many ancient authorities read riyhtcoxis. 



284 A COMMENTARY ON THE GOSPEL OF MATTHEW. [Matt. 27 : 6-8. 

reply of the priests, which implied that he must take care of himself, they 
were done with him, Judas flung the pieces of silver through the partly- 
open veil into the temple, — vadv, the sanctuary, not the gazith, or council 
chamber, nor the public courts, but the holy place where only the priests 
could enter, — and then he rushed away. 

hanged himself] So did Ahithophel, 2 Sam. 17 : 23, where the same 
Greek word is used in the Septuagint. This and the account of Luke in 
Acts 1 : 18, 19 briefly record his horrible death, the latter adding details of 
the horror not given by the former. Tradition points out a place on the 
cliff overhanging the valley of Hinnom, where Judas hanged himself from 
a tree whose boughs projected over the precipice. Hackett visited the spot, 
and found the precipice from twenty-five to forty feet in height, and con« 
sidered the description a natural one. Edersheim suggests that Judas may 
have hanged himself with his own girdle, in which he carried the thirty 
pieces of silver, and either the girdle or the bough of the tree proving too 
weak to sustain his weight in the struggles of strangulation, broke, and he 
fell into the valley below, which crushed and burst his body, as stated in 
Acts 1 : 18. 

7. bought • • . the potter's field] These returned silver pieces, being 
regarded as blood-money, were defiled, and could not, in their view, go into 
the treasury, though the litw, Deut. 23 : 18, usually quoted as forbidding it, 
relates to quite different cases. The priests may have based their decision 
on an inference from this text. So they bought the potter's field, Jer. 19 : 
11 ; 32 : 7-12 ; Zech. 11 : 12, 13, a field of blood, Acts 1 : 19, to bury strangers in. 
The place in our large burial-grounds devoted to the burial of strangers is 
still called "potter's field." Tradition points out two Akeldamas, one where 
Judas is supposed to have hanged himself, the other that purchased with the 
blood-money. This appears to have arisen from an apparent discrepancy 
between Matthew and Acts ; one stating that the rulers bought the field, the 
other that Judas bought it. But the discrepancy is apparent only. The 
expression in Acts 1 : 18 may be understood as a common way of saying that 
this man's award of blood-money bought the field. It is not likely that the 
evangelists refer to two fields by this name. Tradition has pointed out 
Akeldama, since the days of Jerome, south of the valley of Hinnom, on the 
slope of the Hill of Evil Counsel, and opposite the Jewish cemetery which 
is on the slope of Ophel. See illustration, p. 287. 

8. unto this day] This implies that the Gospel of Matthew was not 



Common Version. 



the temple, and departed, and wfmt and 
hanged himself. 

6 And . the chief priests took the silver 
pieces, and said, It is not lawful for to put 
them into the treasury, because it is the 
price of blood. 

7 And they took counsel, and bought with 
them the potter's field, to bury strangers in. 

8 Wherefore that field was called, The field 
of blood, unto this day. 

1 Gr. corbanas, that is, sacred treasury Compare Mark 7 : 11. 



Revised Version. 



into the sanctuary, and departed; and 

6 he went away and hanged himself. And 
the chief priests took the pieces of silver, 
and said, It is not lawful to put them 
into the J treasury, since it is the price 

7 of blood. And they took counsel, and 
bought with them the potter's field, to 

8 bury strangers in. Wherefore that field 
was called, The field of blood, unto this 



-Matt. 27 : !>, 10.] JESUS BEFORE PILATE. 285 

written until some time after the betrayal of Jesus. There are other indica- 
tions that it must have been written before the fall of Jerusalem, a.d. 70. 

9. spoken by Jeremy] or Jeremiah. The citation which follows in 
this and verse 10 is found substantially in Zech. 11 : 12, 13, not in Jeremiah. 
Of the many explanations of this, the most satisfactory is that of Lightfoot. 
The book of Jeremiah was the first one in the volume of the prophets as 
arranged by the Jews, and gave a name to the whole volume of which Zech- 
ariah was a part. Some have supposed this to be a spurious reading for 
Zechariah, but of this there is no proof. Origen and others suggest that it 
is from a book of Jeremiah now lost, but the explanation given above is 
preferable. A similar general reference is made by our Lord : " All things 
must be fulfilled which were written in the law of Moses and in the prophets 
and in the Psalms concerning me." Luke 24 : 44. 

Suggestive Applications. — 1. Religious fanaticism is up early and late. 
2. It takes men with strong traits to make great criminals. 3. The wicked 
care only for themselves, not for their dupes or victims. 4. Judas as a 
Satanic spy and traitor testifies to the innocence of Jesus. 5. Judas had 
avarice and ambition and baseness ; they destroyed him. 6. Remorse drives 
men mad ; madness sends them to Satan. 7. Repentance drives men to seek 
forgiveness, and this leads them to God. Behold the awful horror to which 
guilt and sin lead a soul which has known about Jesus and the kingdom of 
heaven ! 

Jesus before Pilate, vs. 11-31. Compare Mark 15:2-20; Luke 

23 : 2-25 ; John 18 : 28 to 19 : 16. 

Jerusalem, Friday Morning, April 7, a.d. 30. 

The order of events in the trial before Pilate is not given in either Gospel. 
Comparing the four narratives it appears to have been — 1. The Jews bind 
Jesus and bring him before Pilate. 2. Pilate asks what accusation they bring. 
John 18 : 29, 30. 3. He orders them to take and judge him, but they say they 
have not the power. John 18 : 31. 4. The Jews charge Jesus with treason 
for claiming to be a king. Luke 23 : 2. 5. Pilate asks Jesus, Art thou a king ? 
6. Jesus explains his kingdom, and Pilate declares him guiltless. John 
18 : 32-38. 7. The priests vehemently continue their charges. 8. Pilate 
wonders at the silence of Jesus. 9. They add the charge of sedition, and 
again Pilate declares Jesus without fault. Luke 23 : 4, 5. 10. Pilate sends 
Jesus to Herod. Luke 23 : 6-12. 11. Pilate declares Jesus innocent on his 
return. Luke 23 : 13-16. 12. Seeks to release Jesus. Matt. 27 : 13-18. 13. 



Common Version. 



9 Then was fulfilled that which was spoken 
hy Jeremy the prophet, saying, And they 
took the thirty pieces of silver, the price of 
him that was valued, whom they of the chil- 
dren of Israel did value ; 

10 And gave them for the potter's field, as 
the Lord appointed me. 



Revised Version. 



9 day. Then was fulfilled that which was 
spoken through Jeremiah the prophet, 
saying, And * they took the thirty pieces 
of silver, the price of him that was 
priced, 2 whom certain of the children of 
10 Israel did price; and 3 they gave them 
for the potter's field, as the Lord ap- 
pointed me. 

1 Or, I took 2 Or, whom they priced on the part of the sons of Israel 3 Some ancient author- 
ities read J gave. 



286 A COMMENTARY ON THE GOSPEL OF MATTHEW [Matt. 27: 11-13. 



Pilate's wife warns him about Jesus. Matt.'27: 19. 11. The priests and 
people ask the release of Barabbas. 15. Cry out, Crucify Jesus. 16. Pilate 
washes his hands. Matt. 27 : 24, 25. 17. Barabbas released. 18. Jesus 
scourged. 19. Crowned with thorns and mocked by soldiers. Matt. 27 : 29, 
30. 20. Pilate shows Jesus to the people ; " Ecce homo" " Behold the man !" 
questions Jesus as to his origin ; yields to the public clamor and delivers him 
to be crucified. John 19 : 4-16. 21. Jesus is led away to be crucified. Matt. 
27 : 31, 32. 

Matthew alone mentions the message from Pilate's wife, the washing of 
hands by Pilate, and the awful imprecation of the people, " His blood be on 
us." Luke alone narrates the sending of Jesus to Herod, and that Pilate and 
Herod became friends from that time. But John's account of the trial is 
more full than that of any other evangelist. 

The Roman Trial. — There were two trials of Jesus: (1) a Jewish and 
(2) a Roman. There were two hearings in each trial, before two rulers or 
judges. In the Jewish trial (1) before Annas; (2) before Caiaphas. In the 
Roman trial first and last before Pilate, and between these before Herod 
Antipas. This double trial was due to the political state of Judaea. It 
was subject to the Roman emperor, and the power of sentencing one to death 
for a political crime was taken away from the Jews. The district of Judaea 
was a part of the Roman province of Syria, ruled by a prefect or governor. 
But Judaea also had a subordinate ruler called procurator, who resided at 
Caesarea. At the passover he often came to Jerusalem for a few days. 

Hence Pontius Pilate, the procurator appointed in a.d. 26, was in Jerusalem 
at the time of the arrest and trial of Jesus. For when Archelaus was deposed, 
about a.d. 6, Judaea was placed under a procurator. Pilate was appointed 
during the reign of Tiberius as emperor, and held the office about ten years, 
when he was sent to Rome by the prefect (governor-general) of Syria and 
banished to Gaul. The rule of Pilate was offensive to the Jews, and he 
had a contempt for them. He had some sense of justice, but was weak in 
maintaining it even when he perceived it. The rage and fury of the pop- 
ulace always frightened him, so that he yielded to their clamors against the 
clearest convicti